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The California Statewide Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program was established in 1972 to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved communities. It brings together local resources, community-based organizations and academic institutions to improve access to and quality of health care for underrepresented populations across the state. With its partners, the AHEC program also develops a population-based approach to health professions education with a special emphasis on community-based training. The CA AHEC accomplishes its mission through its network of 13 regional AHEC centers, each an independent organization strategically located in an underserved area, affiliated with health professions schools and mainly hosted by community clinic consortia. The AHEC program is funded by California state initiatives and the federal government through the Bureau of Health Workforce, under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

All 13 CA AHEC centers are diverse in their activities, with each one responding to the specific needs of the community it serves. Each center develops training programs with academic institutions to provide experiences within community clinics, health centers, county hospitals, simulation labs and community organizations for health professions students, residents and practicing health professionals. AHEC centers work with K-12 schools, community colleges and undergraduate programs to increase the diversity of future health professions workforce through career education, job shadowing, summer camps, internships and health clubs. Some AHEC centers work with national programs to provide post-baccalaureate and post-secondary students with community health experiences. AHECs are equipped to respond rapidly to changing health priorities such as emergency preparedness, veterans’ mental health, provider burnout and health insurance exchange education and enrollment.

AHRQ Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use – Ambulatory Care

We are recruiting pediatric and adult ambulatory clinics to participate in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use, a free 12-month program that seeks to improve antibiotic prescribing.

Beginning in December 2019, this program combines evidence-based guidance with strategies to address the attitudes, beliefs, and culture that often pose challenges to improving antibiotic prescribing. This program can help you protect your patients from exposure to unneeded antibiotics and their associated side effects, including rashes and Clostridioides difficile infections.

Participation in this AHRQ program will help your clinic(s) meet the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) requirements and can demonstrate compliance with the new Joint Commission Ambulatory Antimicrobial Stewardship Standard as many of the concepts are similar. Continuing education credits including Maintenance of Certification (MOC) for ABIM, ABP, and ABFM will be offered at no charge for participants.

 Benefits of participating include:

  • Reduce unnecessary antibiotic use and increase appropriate antibiotic use
  • Improve patient safety and safety culture 
  • Enhance teamwork and communication around diagnosis and treatment of infections and antibiotic prescribing in your practice
  • Maintain and improve patient and family satisfaction
  • Improve workflow, especially during the busy cold and flu season 

 What data are we requesting?

  • Monthly data on number of patient visits, antibiotic prescriptions administered by antibiotic type, patients with respiratory infections, patients diagnosed with a respiratory condition and prescribed antibiotics (certain ICD-10 codes)
  • Completion of a surveys regarding practice infrastructure, antibiotic stewardship activities, and patient safety issues

Eligible Clinics

Clinics that care for children and/or adults and are:

  • Primary care clinics
  • Urgent care clinics
  • Student health clinics
  • Community-based health clinics (e.g. Federally Qualified Health Centers or FQHCs)
  • Outpatient specialty clinics that provide primary care (e.g., OB/GYN)

How can I learn more?

Attend an informational Webinar:



Time (ET)



Time (ET)


October 15

11 a.m.


November 14

2 p.m.


October 30

1 p.m.


November 26



November 5

2 p.m.


December 2

2 p.m.

Visit or email

This program is funded and guided by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and led by Johns Hopkins Medicine and NORC at the University of Chicago.