Berkshire AHEC to Support Community Health Project

WESTERN MASS. — The Berkshire Area Health Education Center (Berkshire AHEC) has announced its selection by the Mass. League of Community Health Centers to provide support for a Student/Resident Experiences and Rotations in Community Health (SEARCH) project.

This program is funded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  The SEARCH program provides opportunities for students and residents in health professions to serve on multidisciplinary health care teams in underserved communities, thereby establishing and strengthening links between community-based sites and academic institutions.

The Massachusetts program will be a statewide effort available for rotations in fall, late winter/spring, and summer. Students and residents will be assigned to community health center clinical training sites in various regions of the state, including Western Mass. and the Berkshires.

The experience, coordinated by Berkshire AHEC, will consist of a six week, full-time summer community health and clinical learning experience for five or six multi-disciplinary students who will live and work in the rural and small towns of Western Mass. and work in four community health centers in six sites.

A weekly schedule for the students and residents will include clinical learning at a health center, a hands-on community-health project, and time in skills building, learning about other health care providers in rural communities and  rural life, including exposure to some of Berkshire County’s cultural destinations.

The goals of the SEARCH program are to assist the HRSA Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Services with its recruitment and the retention efforts of health care professionals for primary health care service, and facilitate and strengthen partnerships between communities and academic institutions.