Clearinghouse for Clinical Rotations

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an AHEC?

AHEC stands for Area Health Education Center. The Alaska AHEC is part of a network of AHECs across the country. Most are administered through a School of Medicine. Alaska’s AHEC was the first in the country to be administered through a School of Nursing. The overall mission of an AHEC is to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations.

The Alaska AHEC Centers work in three main areas: (a) recruiting Alaskans from disadvantaged backgrounds into health careers (b) coordinating clinical rotations for health profession students in rural areas or with underserved populations and (c) providing CE/CME in underserved areas, toward the retention of those health care workers.

How far in advance should I start arranging a placement?

The short answer is:  “As far ahead as possible!”.  However, some decisions are determined by time limitations that you need to know about.  As an example, a resident could not be placed in 30-days, simply because of the credentialling necessary.  For some hospitals and clinics, Affiliation Agreements are necessary and these can take from 60-days to 12-months.  As a general guideline,  no less than 6-months for a resident or Mid-Level and no less than 4-months for a Medical Student.  As always, call or email as soon as the notion strikes you for best results.

Does Alaska AHEC accept international students for clinical rotations in Alaska?

Due to the high demand placed on clinical sites in Alaska and the fact that a majority of our sites accept only students from LCME accredited medical schools in the U.S. and Canada, we are no longer placing international students. To see if your school qualifies as an LCME accredited school, check the following website: http://lcme.org/directory/

Does Alaska AHEC accept medical, PA or NP students from other states for clinical rotations in Alaska?

The Alaska AHEC can no longer accept applications from medical, PA, NP students from programs outside of Alaska unless they have ties to Alaska, have already found a placement with an affiliated program working with facilities in the state, or have been placed by a rural/underserved provider in Alaska. View the full policy on the home page.

What kind of weather can I expect in Alaska?

The weather in Alaska will vary greatly depending upon location and time of year.  In fact, during the winter months, it’s possible to have a 100 degree difference between a community in northern Alaska and one in Southeast Alaska on the same day!  So it is best to do some research about the part of the state you will be living in, prior to traveling to Alaska so you are prepared.  Contacting people at your site is your best bet for getting the most accurate information about what to expect.

Will there be travel delays?

Travel delays are common in Alaska where heavy fog and harsh weather conditions can postpone air transportation.  Alaskans know to be prepared for delays and have learned to be flexible.  Bring a book or something to pass the time or better yet, get to know your fellow travelers!  Travel delays are a part of what living in rural Alaska is all about.

Do I need to bring food?  What will I have to cook with?

This will vary depending upon location, so be sure to contact the site you will be visiting to inquire about food shopping and cooking capabilities.  Some communities may have limited food selections, especially fresh produce.

Will I be expected to work with more than one preceptor?

There is a good chance that you will work with more than one preceptor during your clinical rotation.  This can be a great opportunity to learn different perspectives and gain a more rounded sense of your profession.  Many students also appreciate having the opportunity to spend time with health professionals in other fields, as well.

Will there be Internet access?

Most sites will have Internet access.  However, there are some that could have limited or no Internet connectivity.  This will be a question you will want to ask somebody at the site, prior to starting your clinical rotation.

What kind of clothing/gear should I bring?

Weather conditions in Alaska vary greatly and are often unpredictable.  Be sure to inquire with somebody at your clinical training site or the rotations coordinator in your region prior to coming to Alaska to see what kind of clothing is appropriate.  Regardless of time of year, it is always smart to bring a sturdy pair of shoes, long pants, warm top layers, a hat, and even a pair of gloves.  Even in summertime, Alaska can be chilly at night and in the morning.

What paperwork will be required prior to my arrival?

Along with the downloadable application found on this site, different clinical training facilities may require additional paperwork.  It is important that you stay in touch with your clinical site to determine what paperwork is needed prior to your arrival.

What is the likelihood I will be accepted for a clinical rotation?

It is difficult to predict the likelihood of your being accepted and placed.  There are many factors involved, such as the availability of placement sites for the field you are in during the timeframe you are looking for, the number of applications we receive and the amount of funding available at any one time of the year.  You are more likely to be accepted if you have ties to Alaska and have some flexibility in the timing of the rotation.  As a general rule, there is some funding available from about September through June of each year.  Because of grant cycles, funding is much more limited in July and August.

How much funding is provided per student?

Funding is capped at $800/student for rotations longer than 3 weeks and at $600/student for rotations 3 weeks or less. Groups of students traveling together for a rotation is also capped at $600/student. Funding is limited to a one time request per grant award year (September 1st through August 31st). It is possible for AHEC offices to consider covering additional travel expenses to remote sites if funding is available.

May I apply for funding if I’ve already found a placement in Alaska?

Yes, we do allow students to apply for funding if they have already found a placement in Alaska.  We cannot guarantee funding, but if it is available you may apply for funds.  Please download the application on this website and complete it.  (You may skip the one page personal biography requested on the application.) Keep in mind, currently more funds tend to be available for rotations completed in September through June.  Please send your application and funding request to Janice Troyer of the Alaska AHEC Program Office.  Be sure to note which facility you have been placed with in Alaska and your rotation dates.

What can funding be used for?

Funding can be used for travel to/from the rotation site and for housing while at the site. Meals, extra baggage fees, ground transportation during the rotation and other related expenses are generally not covered.