Innovation Centers / Healthcare Education / Tennessee Area Health Education Centers Program

Tennessee Area Health Education Centers Program


There is a shortage of medical care among rural communities and the urban poor and as a result, a higher burden of illness and mortality. Our mission is to improve the supply and distribution of health care professionals in these communities with an emphasis on primary care. The effort combines the talents of health care practitioners and school systems in Tennessee to attract young people to the sciences, nurture them through their biomedical studies, place them in rural settings, and support them as professional health care providers with ongoing educational opportunities.

We create a pipeline for healthcare training. We connect with youth at any early age to educate them on health career opportunities. Next, we connect health professionals to communities, and then we connect communities to better health; thereby increasing the quality and availability of healthcare throughout the nation.


The Statewide TN AHEC Program provides the foundation for a coordinated statewide response to the six major challenges expected to affect the health care system over the next decade:

  1. Decreasing supply of primary care providers;
  2. Increasing demand for primary care physicians;
  3. Changing population demographics (increased number of elderly persons);
  4. Diversity/cultural competency in the workforce;
  5. Transformation of the health care delivery system, and
  6. Greater integration of advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants.

The following principles guide the goals, objectives and activities of the TN AHEC:

  1. Provide links between academic health centers, health professionals, community-based organizations, and consumers for the benefit of underserved and rural populations;
  2. Identify local health needs and responses through community input and participation;
  3. Promote health and prevent disease through culturally appropriate interventions;
  4. Increase the number of underrepresented, low income and racial/ethnic minorities entering into health professions programs; and
  5. Implement inter-disciplinary, continuing education and training for health professionals.

Tennessee Area Health Education Centers Program Publications

Cytotrophoblasts suppress macrophage-mediated inflammation through a contact-dependent mechanism.
Alison J Eastman, Erin N Vrana, Maria T Grimaldo, Amanda D Jones, Lisa M Rogers, Donald J Alcendor, David M Aronoff

Structural and Social Determinants of Health Factors Associated with County-Level Variation in Non-Adherence to Antihypertensive Medication Treatment.
Macarius M Donneyong, Teng-Jen Chang, John W Jackson, Michael A Langston, Paul D Juarez, Shawnita Sealy-Jefferson, Bo Lu, Wansoo Im, R Burciaga Valdez, Baldwin M Way, Cynthia Colen, Michael A Fischer, Pamela Salsberry, John F P Bridges, Darryl B Hood