The new center focuses on building a stronger healthcare workforce for Kentucky

Lexington, Kay (June 21, 2022) – An updated resource for hundreds of students on the campus of the University of Kentucky will launch this summer. The Center for Interprofessional and Community Health Education (CICHE) will officially open on 1 July 2022. This new center will be a merger of two existing resources, the Center for Interprofessional Health Education (CIHE) and the Regional Health Center (AHEC).

Months before the center’s inception, university leaders chose James Ballard, Ed.D., to lead the new venture. From 1998 to 2016, Ballard was Associate Director of the AHEC Network and Associate Director of CIHE in the United Kingdom. From 2016 to 2019, Ballard was the executive director of the AHEC network in Indiana and an associate professor of family medicine at Indiana University. Ballard returned to the United Kingdom in 2019 to serve as director of CIHE.

Ballard is excited to unite two units with which he is not only familiar, but also strongly believes in the work they do.

“Both CIHE and AHEC are focused on developing a healthy workforce,” he said. “AHEC’s mission is to increase access to care through a positive impact on the geographical distribution of the underserved health workforce in rural and urban areas and to diversify the health workforce to be more reflective of our very diverse patient population across the world. British community. This is achieved by supporting experienced clinical rotations and programming health professions in underserved communities. CIHE, on the other hand, focuses on helping health professionals get ready for a team as they complete their training. “

Both play an important role in the future of healthcare, especially in today’s world, he said.

“At this point, it is clear that many patients are too chronic and too ill to be adequately treated by each profession. “We have to work as a team to make sure we take complete care of the person,” Ballard said. “We have traditionally worked on this within the walls of this campus. I think that with the consolidation we will be able to move much of this training for interprofessional cooperation into the community, partly using the AHEC model. In the same way, AHEC will continue to influence access to care by developing a diverse and available workforce in rural and urban areas with insufficient services. “

Ballard says learning how to work effectively with other health professionals is vital for students because it directly affects the quality and safety of the care they provide.

“How can people practice at the top of their license if other professionals on the team don’t know what the top of their license is?” Ballard said. We want students to learn now so that they are ready to understand what is the highest level of license for nurses for pharmacists, doctors, etc. In this way, there will be trust and that trust, together with good team skills, helps to build the potential for cooperation. “

The new center will work with students on four campuses, including those in medicine, dentistry, nurses, pharmacy, public health, health sciences, agriculture (dietetics and human nutrition), communications and information sciences, social work and dietary interns in UK HealthCare. Ballard traditionally says that they have worked with professional students, but due to the emerging evidence that this type of training should start earlier, they are gradually starting to work with some students. With the integration of AHEC, we will have the opportunity to move the understanding of the team even further in the programming of high school paths.

The overall vision of this new center is to be a collaboration on the community campus that will impact the health workforce for the British community of Kentucky.

“We want to increase the diversity, geographical distribution and collaboration skills of our health workforce,” Ballard said. “We also want to be an incubator for communities and health professionals in various programs to come together to find ways to improve the health of the British community by affecting its health workforce.

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