UNMC Family Medicine Connect

AHEC welcomes new Program Associate

The Nebraska AHEC Program recently welcomed Sam Woodruff to the team as a Program Associate. As the new Program Associate, Sam will assist with the coordination of program planning, budget creation and maintenance, as well as overall administration support. Sam is a graduate of the Master of Public Health program at UNMC, with a concentration in Health Administration.

During his time at UNMC Sam was heavily involved on and off campus; leading the UNMC Student Delegates group, working with Nebraska Medicine’s Primary Care Department to attain Patient Centered Medical Home accreditation, assisting with multiple research initiatives with the College of Public Health, and interning at Charles Drew Health Center in Omaha and Nebraska Appleseed in Lincoln.

Sam looks forward to contributing his knowledge and experience of practice transformation, public health, and leadership to the mission and goals of AHEC and the Department of Family Medicine.

AHEC welcomes program coordinator

Lydia Sand joined the Department of Family Medicine last week and will serve as the program coordinator for the Nebraska Area Health Education Center Program (AHEC).  In her role, she’ll work collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders to coordinate programs that support building a robust and diverse health care workforce in Nebraska.  Some of her work will focus on organizing and successfully implementing existing AHEC events like the 8th Grade State Science Meet and activities for undergraduate students interested in health careers.  However, Lydia will also play a critical role in the development and implementation of a new longitudinal Nebraska AHEC Scholars Program for health profession students interested in serving rural and underserved areas.

Lydia is a South Dakota native and has been residing in Omaha for almost five years. Lydia has previously held positions at Children’s Scholarship Fund of Omaha and the American Diabetes Association. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and International Relations from Bethel University. Currently, she serves as the board chair for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Greater Omaha.

Nicole Carritt Attends National AHEC Conference

Nebraska Area Health Education Center Deputy Director and Program Manager, Nicole Carritt, MPH, attended the National Area Health Education Agency Organization Conference in Washington, D.C. this past June.

AHEC on the Hill: A Capitol Idea! was held for the national AHEC network consisting of 53 medical schools, 2 nursing schools and over 240 community-based centers.

“As someone new to the Nebraska AHEC program, having the opportunity to learn more about AHEC programs across the country from some of the foremost leaders in the field was invaluable,” Carritt said.

The AHEC network spent from June 26-30 learning best practices and innovative ideas from national leaders in healthcare. There were opportunities to network and become more involved in the important work of advancing the AHEC mission to enhance access to quality health care, particularly primary and preventive care, by improving the supply and distribution of healthcare professionals through strategic partnerships with academic programs, communities, and professional organizations.

“Attending the conference allowed me to meet and network with colleagues from across the country, identify opportunities to get involved and volunteer in some of the national efforts, and to hear from Dr. Luis Padilla, the Associate Administrator for Health Workforce at HRSA, about the vision for AHEC into the future was what I enjoyed most, in addition to spending time with the staff and board members of several of Nebraska’s AHECs,” Carritt said.


Family Medicine welcomes new Deputy Director of AHEC Program

Nicole Carritt, MPH, joins the Department of Family Medicine as the Deputy Director and Program Manager of the Nebraska Area Health Education Center program.

Nicole has a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from Wayne State College and earned her Master’s in Public Health from UNMC. Professionally, Nicole spent five years leading a local public health department in western Iowa, overseeing over 20 public health and health care programs.

Most recently, Nicole was the executive director of Project Extra Mile, a statewide nonprofit organization in Nebraska, focused on preventing and reducing alcohol-related harms by advocating for evidence-based policies and practices. The work focused on providing training and technical assistance to coalitions, communities, and policymakers at every level; working with law enforcement partners; engaging in media advocacy; and training youth leaders.  She spent two years as the policy and research specialist before becoming the organization’s executive director.

She currently serves as an officer on the board of directors for the US Alcohol Policy Alliance and is a member of the Harrison County Iowa Incident Management Assistance Team.

Nicole is excited about the opportunities to work with AHEC and UNMC.

“I’m looking forward to being a contributing member of the large UNMC team and utilizing my knowledge and expertise to help build upon the successes of the Nebraska AHEC Program, making it a model for other states working collaboratively to recruit and train health care professionals in rural areas,” she said.

The Nebraska Area Health Education Center program, or AHEC, is a cooperative venture between a medical school (and/or its sponsoring institution) and community centers in remote locations.

UNMC received federal funding to establish AHECs in Nebraska in 2001, with Dr. Michael Sitorius serving as the principal investigator for the project. Since its inception, the Nebraska AHEC Program has been coordinated by UNMC College of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine. Five regional AHECs (in Grand Island, Norfolk, Scottsbluff, Omaha, and Lincoln) manage the day-to-day tasks, program coordination, and outreach.

In her spare time, Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband and two elementary-aged children while staying active and outdoors.

Welcome, Nicole!