The national AHEC program was developed by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train, and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations. With the objective of eliminating Health Profession Shortage Areas, the national program was designed to encourage universities and educators to look beyond their institutions and partner with communities to promote cooperative solutions with local benefits.

The South Dakota Area Health Education Center (SD AHEC) fosters a continuum of interdisciplinary health professions education focusing on the healthcare needs of the most underserved in our state. This is accomplished through academic-community partnerships in collaboration with state agencies and organizations to improve the supply and distribution of a culturally sensitive, quality healthcare workforce.