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About Us


Striving to address the needs of our rural and underserved counties in WNY

Western New York Rural Area Health Education, Inc. (R-AHEC) "improves the quality of healthcare in our region through workforce development, education, and resources."




We build networks among individuals, students, professionals, and organizations to develop and support our health workforce.


We pursue quality and integrity in our work.


We develop unique solutions to fulfill our mission and vision.


We work collaboratively to improve access to quality healthcare in our communities.



We envision a future in which our community is supported by high quality, accessible health resources and a diverse, educated and compassionate workforce.

“None of what we do would be possible without the dedication of our amazing staff. It is an honor to work with such a great team that is passionate about the healthcare workforce and our rural communities.”

Melanie Rhodes

Executive Director

R-AHEC is part of the National Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program

The National AHEC program was developed in the early 1970’s to recruit, train and retain a health professional workforce committed to underserved communities with a vision to connect students to careers, professionals to communities, and communities to better health. R-AHEC is part of the NYS AHEC System and is New York State’s first AHEC. Each NYS AHEC center is unique, while providing similar core services which aids in health professional recruitment/retention, supports medically underserved areas, coordinates student training opportunities within underserved areas, and directs efforts towards developing health career opportunities for local youth. R-AHEC has fostered strategic partnerships with academic programs, healthcare providers, and professional organizations.

Program Focus Areas


Workforce Development

Through various grant based and independent initiatives, the healthcare workforce are extended a variety of training opportunities (professional skills, career ladder development, continuing education, and others)



The Thiel Hospitality House provides discounted rates and scholarships through grant funding to healthcare workers, healthcare students and community members.



Healthcare career exploration for grades 7-12 is offered through classroom presentations, career fairs, field trips, shadowing experiences with local healthcare providers, camps, newsletters, and many others all aimed at exploring the various careers in healthcare. Post-secondary education opportunities include internships, immersive programming, scholarships, case management, and tabling events.


Health Information Technology Support

Eligible healthcare providers, primarily rural, are offered opportunities through various funding sources which subsidize network connections and broadband equipment as well as telemedicine software and equipment to provide better access to healthcare.