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USF Area Health Education CenterSpring 2011


theCourseAHEC Stays the Course 

Anne Maynard, MPH, CHES, USF AHEC Program Director

The end of 2011 Florida legislative session also brought with it an end to nearly 25 years of state support for the core activities of the Florida AHEC Network.

Faced with a $3.6 billion budget shortfall, legislators made the difficult decision of cutting funding for AHEC's recruitment, training and retention efforts, although funding for AHEC's tobacco cessation & training program will continue.

State support of core AHEC activities had fallen sharply
in the past three years. Last year, AHEC received a $4.8 million appropriation from the legislature, a cut of over 50 percent from the preceding year. Potential elimination of core AHEC funding this session was a significant concern to the Council of Medical School Deans, which showed support for AHEC by making it a legislative priority.  

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CongressCongress Recognizes National AHEC Week 

Congressnan Young

 Congressman Young pictured with
GSAHEC Chief Executive Officer Edna Apostol (l) and
former AHEC Program Director Dr. Cynthia Selleck (


In observance of National AHEC Week (March 14-18), Florida Congressman C.W. "Bill" Young (10th District) and Congresswoman Kathy Castor (11th District) showed their continued support for AHEC statements to the U.S. House of Representatives. In remarks he made for the Congressional Record, Congressman Young praised AHEC's "goals and ideals... as well as its immeasurable contributions to the advancement of health care in our most underserved communities." Congressman Young was instrumental in the creation of the USF AHEC Program and he and Congresswoman Castor have been outspoken advocates for continued AHEC funding.


CallActionA Call to Action

LaToya Clark, MPH, USF AHEC ProgramAssistant Director


Tallahassee, LaToya

LaToya Clark, MPH, USF AHEC Program Assistant Director, inspires Delta GEMS youth to pursue careers in health professions

 Thursday, February 17, 2011 was Career and Technical Education (CTE) Day in Tallahassee. Over 200 students from across the state had gathered at the Capitol to display their CTE programs and promote their student leadership organizations. Amidst the hustle and bustle of his legislative duties, State Representative Darryl Rouson (District 55) called the USF AHEC Program office into action. 

GuidanceUSF AHEC Community-Academic Resources:

Reaching Out to Middle and
High School Guidance Counselors

LaToya S. Clark, MPH, USF AHEC Program Director


Day after day teachers and guidance counselors provide knowledge and insight to help build foundations for students to learn and grow. USF AHEC, in collaboration with its affiliate centers, Gulfcoast North AHEC (GNAHEC) and Gulfcoast South AHEC (GSAHEC), collaborates with school districts throughout a nine-county service area to educate teachers and guidance counselors about AHEC resources and health career opportunities for students. Through these partnerships, AHEC can be a valuable resource for students, teachers and counselors who are seeking college preparation programs and field experiences in the health professions. As Florida schools move towards having students declare majors prior to entering high school, teachers and counselors must stay abreast on the various college and career options for students.


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AndrewVillamagnaDr. Andrew Villamagna Pays it Forward
Victor L. Rodriguez Cruz

Coordinator of Clinical Training & Enrichment

Dr. Villamagna

Dr. Andrew Villamagna

Andrew Villamagna, MD, MSc was always interested in medicine, but began his college career studying to become a chemical engineer.   After completing a degree in chemical engineering (which he refers to as "a nicely needed diversion"), he entered medical school at the Medical College of Virginia to pursue a career as a family physician. 

During medical school, Dr. Villamagna completed two AHEC clinical rotations in Richmond, Viriginia. These rotations solidified his desire to work with the underserved. It was also during this period that Dr. Villamagna applied for a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholarship and was thrilled when he was selected.  His tuition and books and were completely covered by the NHSC scholarship, plus he received a monthly stipend to help with other expenses!


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DocilaitNaomi Docilait, MPH Degree Student

Victor L. Rodriguez Cruz

Coordinator of Clinical Training & Enrichment


Naomi Docilait decided to become a health professional early in life, and help people live happier and healthier lives. Naomi decided to attend the University of Central Florida, where she studied to become a respiratory therapist.  After graduation, she began working for Tampa General Hospital. Three years later, Naomi continues to work there as a respiratory therapist while taking on a new venture as a graduate student in the Public Health Program at Florida International University (FIU).

Naomi D.
Naomi Dociliat

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CasselsMy Life:  Serving the Medically Underserved

Lew Cassels, ARNP, DeSoto County Health Department


It was preordained that I would be a music major, get married and have children. I never dreamed I would be following in my father's footsteps by pursuing a career in the medical field. I never thought I would be evaluating medical concerns, discovering cervical cancer or extracting roaches from peoples' ears as a nurse practitioner.

Lew Cassels
Lew Cassels, ARNP

I worked as a registered nurse for 10 years. Desiring more autonomy and a flexibility that would allow me to spend extra time with my 17 year old daughter who has Down syndrome, I decided to take the plunge and advance in my nursing career. 

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GSAHECawardGulfcoast South AHEC Receives  

Community Partner Award

Ansley Mora, Community Education Coordinator 

Community Partner Award
Edna Apostol, MPH and Ansley Mora with ACS Board Members


Through funds awarded by the American Cancer Society (ASC), Florida
Division, Inc., Gulfcoast South AHEC (GSAHEC) and the Newtown
Wellness Program implemented the Turning the Tides on Breast and
Colorectal Cancer
project in 2010.We reached 2,485 African American
men and women in north Sarasota County with breast and colorectal
cancer education.

We also strengthened another partnership! Because of this work, ASC,
Sarasota County Unit, presented GSAHEC with a Community Partner
. We are grateful for this honor and appreciate the supportive
partnership that continues with our local ACS unit. Thanks also to ACS,
Florida Division, once again for their support of our Turning the Tides
project in 2011. ASC, Florida Division, works on the frontline reaching
individuals with the early cancer detection message
. Thank you ACS!




 ACS Logo 



BedoskGulfcoast South AHEC: 
Shaping My Future as a Health Professional

Domenique Bedosk

Domenique Bedosk
Domenique Bedosk

Recently, I found a guidebook given to me the first day of orientation at the AHEC Summer Academy and I thought I should let you know how I am doing now and how much my AHEC experience is still helping me. In 2008, I participated in the Gulfcoast South AHEC REACH program at North Port High School, the REACH Summer Internship, and the USF Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Health Professions Summer Academy.

The AHEC programs I participated in were very beneficial-they helped me to prepare for my SAT, and the writing skills I learned I use to this day. The firsthand knowledge from medical professionals and amazing hospital tours were the most valuable experiences I received from the AHEC programs, and helped me choose my major. 

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In This Issue

Focus on Education

MedicalSpanishMedical Spanish Course for Healthcare Professionals

The University of South Florida Area Health Education Center Program Office (USF AHEC) and Gulfcoast North Area Health Education Center (GNAHEC) are offering a Medical Spanish course to health professions students and professionals at the USF College of Medicine and surrounding health care community.
The course fee per participant is $75.00. Enrollment will be limited to 20 participants per class. Classes will be held from June 7, 2011 to July 7, 2011 on Tuesdays & Thursdays, 5:30 - 8:30 PM. Registration deadline: May 20. Click on the link above for more details and registration form. 


ScholarshipThe National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program Application Cycle
Is Now Open!


National Health Service CorpsScholars receive:

          Payment for tuition, required fees, and other reasonable educational costs          A monthly support stipend          Assistance in finding a practice site


The deadline for applications is June 6, 2011!


 NHSC Logo

 Quick Links 






(Healthcare Resources List
for the Medically
Underserved in PDF format)


 What's New

3rd Annual Florida
TobaccoSummitTobacco Summit

The Florida AHEC Network invites everyone to its 3rd Annual Florida Tobacco Summit on Wednesday, June 8 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. Topics include Providing Tobacco Cessation for People with Mental Illness, The Psychology of Dealing with Difficult Patients, Environmental and Medical Facts About Tobacco, Best Practices in Tobacco Cessation and Spit Tobacco Update. $75 registration fee includes breakfast, lunch and 7 hours of CE/CME credits. Click here to register or email questions to


 Stop smoking


HumanrightsHuman Rights Awards Celebration

Sister Sara Proctor was honored as a Human Rights Pioneer at the 37th Annual Human Rights Awards Celebration. The event, sponsored by the Tampa/Hillsborough County Human Rights Council, was held on December 10, 2010. Several hundred people attended including former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor. Sr. Sara's work providing healthcare for migrant workers and their families was applauded. At the same ceremony, Dr. Samuel Wright, Associate Dean of Student Relations at USF, officiated during the induction of Reverend Abe Brown and Matilda Garcia into the Human Rights Hall of Fame.  Congratulations to our AHEC partners!

Sister Sarah at work

Sister Sarah at work (Courtesy of the Tampa Tribune)


Focus on Your Health

 SkinCancer2Skin Cancer Prevention and Education

Victor L. Rodriguez Cruz

Coordinator of Clinical Training & Enrichment

Gulfcoast North AHEC (GNAHEC), in partnership with the FL Keys AHEC is pleased to offer accredited, high quality continuing education to individual health professionals and health organizations, especially those practicing in underserved areas. 

We are currently offering three programs related to Skin Cancer free of charge. The courses are offered online and are titled "Sunwise: A Skin Cancer Community Health Update", "Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Update", and "Therapeutic Options for Regional Metastatic Melanoma Skin Cancer." 

These programs are designed to enhance clinical skills and help maintain professional certifications. Each course offers one contact hour for professionals in the medical and nursing fields.  All programs are offered free of charge through the FL Keys AHEC web portal at


If you would like GNAHEC to provide a live version of any of the online Skin Cancer Programs, please contact Victor Rodriguez Cruz at 813.929.1000 or . 



 USF Health White on Green


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usfahecAbout Us 

The USF AHEC Program connects students to careers, professionals to communities and communities to better health. We inspire, train, recruit, sustain and retain a diverse and broad range of health professionals to practice in communities where the need is greatest.

The USF AHEC Program began in 1993 and covers a nine-county area on the central west coast of the state from as far north as Citrus to as far south as Charlotte county. Community activities are carried out by our two local AHEC Centers, Gulfcoast North AHEC in Land O' Lakes serving Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties and Gulfcoast South AHEC in Sarasota, which serves Charlotte, Desoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties.


We recruit talented, dedicated health professionals who want to make a difference in the community and match them with positions in medically underserved communities. And we support local healthcare practitioners who care for the medically underserved by providing resources such as technical assistance, library services

 and continuing education programs to help them meet their professional needs.