College students pursuing a health profession in Illinois can apply for the new Illinois AHEC Scholars Program. This competitive, two-year cohort program supplements students’ education with job shadowing, career coaching, seminars and experiences in underserved areas. Participants also receive additional training on practice transformation, behavioral health, social determinants of health, cultural competency and interprofessional education and training.

Illinois AHEC Scholars will graduate from the program with practical insight and expertise that will prepare them to serve as leaders in their health care field.

The Illinois AHEC Scholars Program expands on traditional health professions education and training with the goal of increasing awareness of and interest in health care professions in rural and underserved areas. Students currently enrolled in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, public health, social work and other health professions are eligible for the program. According to Hana Hinkle, associate director of the National Center for Rural Health Professions and the Illinois AHEC Network Program, students enrolled in the two-year IL AHEC Scholars  Program will have opportunities to complete a community service learning project with other students in the program, attend two summer institutes, and will have a three-day immersion experience in an underserved community. Students will also be provided an opportunity to network with participating health departments, Federally Qualified Health Centers and health systems throughout the state.

The Illinois AHEC Scholars Program is a new program offered by the Illinois Area Health Education Centers Network Program. Established in 2010, the Illinois AHEC Network Program has eight regional centers throughout the state to serve both rural and urban underserved residents through access to health professions education, health careers development and community and public health promotion activities. The East Central Illinois AHEC in Gibson City, Ill., is the first regional center to pilot the Illinois AHEC Scholars Program. The first Illinois AHEC Scholars Program will kick-off with a day and a ½ face-to-face summer institute, hosted in Paxton Illinois. Selected Scholars will receive travel stipends for participating in the program.

Applications are available online at and are due Sunday, May 6.

For more information, contact Hana Hinkle at (815) 395-5784 or at the National Center for Rural Health Professions, University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford, 1601 Parkview Ave., Rockford, IL 61107.