We would like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves and the South East Illinois Area Health Education Center (SEI-AHEC) located on the campus of Fairfield Memorial Hospital in Fairfield, IL. Kristi Howell, BSN, RN is the Director of SEI-AHEC and has a background in emergency and critical care nursing and hospital quality management serving several years as a Director of Quality Initiatives.

Fairfield Memorial Hospital, in partnership with the University of Illinois-College of Medicine at Rockford, the Urban Medicine Program at the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Medicine and the National Center for Rural Health Professions (NCRHP), has established the South East Illinois Area Health Education Center (SEI-AHEC) in Fairfield, Illinois.

The SEI-AHEC works to provide educational information to high school and college students as well as health professionals in training.  Through this program we are able to address community health concerns, encourage interest in health careers and to provide increased rural health employment opportunities for students from our rural communities.  SEI-AHEC program is designed to identify intelligent, capable and motivated individuals from local communities:  HELP them develop an interest in a health profession, SUPPORT them through their educational experience, RECRUIT them back to work in our local communities and RETAIN them for a lifetime.

Our mission is to INSPIRE, TRAIN, RECRUIT and RETAIN a diverse and broad range of health professionals to practice in rural communities where the need is greatest.  The SEI-AHEC strives to develop a strong community partnership with existing organizations and programs, as well as, work closely with the communities to bridge gaps and strengthen existing programs in the following nineteen counties:  Alexander, Clay, Crawford, Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jasper, Johnson, Lawrence, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Richland, Saline, Wabash, Wayne, White, and Williamson.

By offering classroom presentations regarding health careers, career camps, career fairs, job shadowing opportunities, career resources and preceptorships, the SEI-AHEC hopes to encourage students to choose a health career and inform them about the opportunities that are available.

Funded by a federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Illinois initiative is under the auspices of NCRHP.