Member Highlights

Meet Patricia Harrity, Executive Director, Northwestern AHEC

Presented by the NAO membership committee

Why are you a member of NAO and how long have you been a member?
My organization has been a member from the inception of NAO. As Hamilton says, “I was in the room where it happened” when the PDCG and CDCG decided to merge into one unified organization – voila – the NAO was born.

I am a member because a unified voice is necessary to keep AHEC’s impact front and center of our legislators and partners.

What membership benefits do you value and why?
The value of a unified voice; the value of a coordinate approach to outcomes measurement; the value of a unified approach to program development giving AHEC the ability to quickly respond to issues of national importance with local presence.

What is your organization’s vision/mission?
Vision: A Nation where everybody has equal opportunity to live a long healthy life.
Mission: Building a healthier nation one community at a time.

How is your center achieving your mission? (What types of programs do you have that you’d like others to know about?)
Health360 is the host organization of Northwestern AHEC, part of the CT AHEC Network. NWAHEC focuses on programs that build a health care workforce that is prepared to improve health equity by addressing health disparities caused by social determinants of health. Health360 runs the HEALTHForward AmeriCorps Program leveraging national service to advance health care workforce development in the state of Connecticut. Health360 also developed Healthy Minds Alliance, a program that addresses mental health disparities. Among other things, Healthy Minds Alliance provides mental health training to health profession students to advance the integration of physical and mental health care.

Please describe the population your region serves: 
NWAHEC serves the northwest corner of CT which is made up of urban, suburban and rural communities.

How long have you been with AHEC and what roles have you had?
I was the founding executive director of Northwestern AHEC, starting in that position in April 1997. I definitely found my home at AHEC. Over the years the AHEC program has grown in response to persistent and changing health care needs in our nation, state and communities. Five years ago I led the agency’s transition to Health360. Health360 hosts the NWAHEC Program. The transition has enabled the agency to develop more robust programming that provides synergy to our NWAHEC activities.

What else would you like to share with NAO membership about yourself or your organization?
I’ve been working at AHEC for over 20 years and it has been the most fulfilling job. I love what I do and I love who I do it with. The staff at NWAHEC and the entire CT AHEC Network are an inspiration to me every day. Most gratifying is the impact our work over the years has had on the health care workforce of Connecticut.

What is one of your favorite stories/memories from your AHEC experience so far?
The CT AHEC Network is led by Dr. Bruce Gould. Bruce is an inspiration to us all. He leads by example working tirelessly to achieve health equity in communities across Connecticut. I remember when I met Bruce as a newly minted AHEC Executive Director the first thing he told me was that he had an idea about a service corps for youth interested in health professions. Through the years the CT AHEC Network, starting with that vision, has created a robust health careers pipeline stretching from high school to health professions students teaching future health professionals about their role in building a more equitable health care system.

Click below to access the NAO Member Highlights Archive

Past Member Highlights
Patricia Harrity - August 2020
Monica T. Afalava - March 2020
Denise Kornegay - January 2020
Steven Zucker- November 2018
Krista Loney- December 2018
Susan Anderson- March 2019
Michael Faircloth- April 2019
Marica Martinic- June 2019

To learn more about NAO Membership categories, visit www.nationalahec.org.
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Membership Benefits include numerous ways for you and your AHEC program or center to collaborate, educate and strengthen local national partnership.

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