In the late 1970s, the federal government established Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) to address health manpower distribution through community based initiatives. Mississippi AHECs link the resources of university health science centers with local planning, educational and clinical resources. This network of health-related institutions provides multidisciplinary educational services to students, faculty and local practitioners, ultimately improving health care delivery in medically underserved areas.
AHECs are academic-community partnerships that train health care providers in sites and programs that are responsive to state and local needs. Health career enhancement and recruitment programs for K-12 students are emphasized. The AHEC program is a long-term initiative, requiring major changes both in the traditional method of training medical and other health professions students and in the relationship between university health science centers and community health service delivery systems. Central MS AHEC serves Copiah, Hinds, Madison, Rankin, Simpson, Warren and Yazoo counties.