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The Central Area Health Education Center, Inc. (Central AHEC) is a private, non-profit 501 (c) (3) community-based organization headquartered in Hartford, CT. We serve Hartford, Middlesex and Tolland Counties as well as the towns of Meriden and Wallingford. Our culturally and linguistically diverse staff possesses the knowledge, experience and professional relationships required to effectively address the broad-based challenges and opportunities related to reducing health disparities for ethnic and racial minorities and to increasing workforce diversity among the health-related professions. We have working relationships with health, education and philanthropic entities at the city, state and federal levels. Our past and continued success depends on the technical assistance and financial support we receive from individuals and public/private funding sources. Thanks to them we've been able to make progress in the following areas.

We are Central AHEC


Central AHEC envisions the elimination of disparities in health care based upon race, ethnicity and social and economic conditions. We also envision a culturally and ethnically diverse health care workforce that works in collaboration with local communities, and public and private agencies, who can help assure the conditions under which all people receive equality in health care.


The mission of Central AHEC is to eliminate health disparities among diverse populations of central Connecticut by providing and coordinating programs that improve the health status of all.

Central Area Health Education Center

  • Meeting the continuing education needs of primary care providers serving Central Connecticut's vulnerable and underserved populations in systematic and ongoing ways that improve the quality of care they deliver as well as their professional satisfaction.

  • Increasing community training in health centers located in Central Connecticut's most underserved areas for students in the health professions.

  • Institutionalizing health care recruitment efforts in several of the area's elementary, middle and high schools serving high percentages of ethnic and racial minorities.

  • Demonstrating the need for more long-term financial support from health care funders in order to better support long-range community health goals.

  • Influencing key legislators to support policies and practices that reduce health disparities and address workplace diversity.

CT AHEC Offices

  • AHEC Program Office
  • Eastern AHEC
  • Central Area Health Education Center
  • Northwestern AHEC
  • Southwestern AHEC

Additional Resources

  • Health Careers in Connecticut

History of AHEC

The national Area Health Education Center organization (AHEC) was established in 1971 as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). It was created to link the resources of university health science centers with local planning, educational and clinical entities in order to address the distribution of health care providers in medically underserved urban and rural areas.

In 48 states, there are now more than 350 Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) similar to Central AHEC. Each state has at least one AHEC Program Office which functions as a lead administrator. In Connecticut, the Program Office is housed within the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. It provides administrative leadership to three other Connecticut AHEC offices in addition to Central AHEC.

The additional centers are located in Bridgeport (Southwestern AHEC), Jewett City (Southeastern AHEC), and Waterbury (Northwestern AHEC). The core funding for Connecticut AHEC operations comes from the HRSA and the Connecticut Department of Higher Education.

Information about the National AHEC Organization can be found at www.nationalahec.org. National AHEC is dedicated to connecting students to careers, professionals to communities, and communities to better health.


The goal of the Central AHEC Health Careers Exploration and Health initiative is to educate present and future providers of health care and their communities. In order to fulfill this mission, the student-centered goals of our programs are to: improve knowledge of health careers, increase understanding of health disparities, promote personal development and growth, and support the completion of education and career goals.





Summer Programs


Rising STAR


AmeriCorps Volunteers

Members of the Youth Health Service Corps-AmeriCorps Division are a part of a national network of AmeriCorps programs sponsored by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. Begun in 1994, the AmeriCorps programs provide opportunities for Americans to make an intensive commitment to service. The AmeriCorps network of local, state, and national service programs engages more than 70,000 Americans in intensive service each year. AmeriCorps members serve through more than 3,000 nonprofits, public agencies, and faith-based and othV er community organizations, helping meet critical needs in education, public safety, health and the environment. The variety of service opportunities is almost unlimited. Members may tutor and mentor youth, build affordable housing, teach computer skills, clean parks and streams, run after-school programs, or help communities respond to disaster. As an AmeriCorps member, you will gain new skills and experiences–and you will also find the tremendous satisfaction that comes from helping others. In addition, full-time members who complete their service earn a Segal AmeriCorps education Awards of $5,550 to pay for college, graduate school, or to pay back qualified student loans; and also receive a modest living allowance during their term of service.

AmeriCorps members are responsible for the implementation of the Youth Health Service Corps Program within designated schools in their AHEC regional office. Responsibilities include:

  • Work with school liaison to recruit high school students at risk of dropping out to participate in the YHSC
  • Conduct student volunteer trainings and coordinate CPR trainings
  • Oversee the implementation of Service Learning Projects including Oral Hygiene, Nutrition, Emergency Preparedness and other projects as developed
  • Provide upport services to students including group mentoring, attention to academic achievement and family support including home visits
  • Monitor student's school attendance, behavior and achievement
  • Introduce various health/ public health careers and coordinate related speakers
  • Support youth as participants in National Service Days including MLK Day of Service and Global Youth Service Days
  • Utilize YHSC Database to manage and track student participation in the program and program outcomes
  • Conduct program evaluations
  • Recruit volunteer agencies, maintain contact with volunteer site coordinators, monitor volunteer placements
  • Grant writing to support service learning activities
  • Participate in AmeriCorps large service project
  • Other duties as assigned

To learn more about this program or to apply, please contact Patricia Gonzalez at pgonzalez@centralctahec.org


team 1

Abigail Horowitz


team 2

Marvi Camalig


team 3

Kadi-Ann Rose


Youth Health Service Corps

YHSC is a health careers recruitment program that engages diverse high school youth as "student leaders" in meaningful community service. Students are trained using a six-module curriculum that prepares them to function in health care settings that assist the underserved. Once prepared, students choose independent or group service learning projects to fulfill the minimum of fifty hours for completion of the program.

YHSC members become part of the national online community of students with similar career interests. The YHSC program can be run as a regional after-school program or as part of the high school curriculum.

The mission of the YHSC is to increase the number of diverse high school students who matriculate into post secondary health career programs.Our goals are to:

  1. Provide students with quality volunteer training through the service learning process
  2. Increase student awareness of health careers and to nurture their desire to pursue a health career
  3. Increase student academic and civic engagement
  4. Strengthen AHEC partnerships between secondary educators and community-based organizations

This program currently runs at Classical Magnet High School in Hartford, New Britain High School, EC Goodwin Technical High school in New Britain and the CREC Medical Professions and Teaching Preparation Academy in Windsor.

For more information, contact Patricia Gonzalez at pgozalez@centralctahec.org.

Americorps Volunteers

The new AmeriCorps members working with Central AHEC, Inc. will build upon the Youth Health Service Corp (YHSC) service learning program to ensure that youth at risk of dropping out of school have opportunities to be successful. Students from Central AHEC's service area will be engaged with the goal of increasing youth academic achievement, civic engagement, and pro-social behavior; by combining introduction to the health careers and participation in independent service or service learning projects with support services, including group mentoring, individualized attention to academic achievement and family support.


Collegiate Health Service Corps

The CHSC is a three-tiered volunteer and service experience for undergraduate college students. Participants gain real life experience, build their resumes, and become part of the surrounding community. The mission of the CHSC is to expose undergraduate students to health careers through service learning experiences that promote preventive health care to underserved communities.

The program includes three major program components:

Core Training

A highly interactive workshop that covers the following topics:
  • Eliminating Health Disparities by Working in an Interdisciplinary Team
  • Ethics and Legal Issues
  • Health Promotion and Health Education
  • Health Literacy
  • Information Management
Service Learning:

Community + Preparation + Reflection = Service Learning

75 hours of education-based service work in the community.

Reflection: Two 1-hour reflection sessions where students come together to share their experiences and discuss the program. Intermediate and Advanced levels of the CHSC include training in First Aid and CPR. This program currently runs at Wesleyan University in Middletown and University of Hartford in West Hartford. Programs chapters can also be run at Trinity College, Central CT State University, Capital Community College, Goodwin College or other area schools with significant interest.

For More Information

For more information, please contact Patricia Gonzalez at pgonzalez@centralctahec.org.


"Careers for the Future" Summer Medical Camps



These health careers education camps give high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors the opportunity to learn first-hand about a variety of medical professions and what it takes to be in them.


To learn more about this program or to apply, please contact Patricia Gonzalez at pgonzalez@centralctahec.org




The mission of Rising S.T.A.R. is to connect high school students in the Greater Hartford area to resources and information on higher education. The conference intends to address the following questions for the students:


  • What are the benefits of obtaining a higher education?
  • How can I access it?
  • How can I get there?

Rising S.T.A.R. is a conference hosted by Central CT Area Health Education Center, Inc. This year, it is tentatively scheduled for Friday October 16th at 9:00 AM at Trinity College’s Washington Room. This conference aims to increase access to higher education for high school students from under-represented populations by providing educational resources, a college campus tour, student/faculty panels, and much more. This year, with collaboration from Trinity College’s student-led Collegiate Health Service Corps (CHSC), the Admissions office, and other faculty/staff, the Rising S.T.A.R. conference will be taking place at Trinity College.

A few things from the program agenda:

  • Keynote Speaker
  • Professors and Campus Resources Panel
  • Student Panel
  • Campus Tour
  • Raffle and Prizes

To learn more about this program or to apply, please contact Patricia Gonzalez at pgonzalez@centralctahec.org








Lokesh Nigam

Employee Benefits Specialisst USI Connecticut


Brendan Perkins

Vice President
Financial Advisor Merrill Lynch Wealth Management


Katherine Keane

Retired Attorney


Sandra Brown

MPA, JD, FACHE Manager Center for Emergency Medical Preparedness Department of Trauma/Emergency Medicine Hartford Hospital


Jan Sudra

Global Supply Chain Analyst Pratt & Whitney, UTC


Stephen Balcanoff

Director Non-Medical Community Programs CT Children’s Medical Center


Myrna Millet Saez

MS/HS-BCP Connecticut Children's Medical Center


Brian Barnier

Value Bridge Advisors, LLC





partner 1 partner 2 partner 3 partner 4 partner 5 partner 6


Patricia Gonzalez- Executive Director


Staff Directory


  • Patricia Gonzalez - Executive Director x102
  • Guisela Laureno - Executive Assitant x115
  • Angel Pagan - IT Coordinator x101
  • Health Education

  • Patricia Gonzalez - Executive Director x102
  • AmeriCorps x114

  • Kadi-Ann Rose
  • Abigail Horowitz
  • Marvi Camalig

    Our office hours are 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday





    20-28 Sargeant Street, Suite 206, 2nd Floor Hartford, CT 06105

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    Central Area Health Education Center, Inc. is a private non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization. Your donations dollars are tax deductible.