Emergency -

University of South Florida

Leaders of USF Area Health Education Centers Recognized with Prestigious Awards

The USF Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program is part of a federal training initiative designed to improve the diversity, distribution, and supply of primary care providers throughout the United States. AHECs link academic health care resources to local communities through community-based Centers for the purpose of connecting students to health careers, providers to medically underserved communities, and communities to better health. Within USF AHEC’s nine county service area, this work is accomplished in collaboration with Gulfcoast North AHEC based in Wesley Chapel, and the Gulfcoast South AHEC in Sarasota. Not only are these Centers making life better for their local communities, they’re being recognized at the national level for their efforts.

For the past year, Christina Mathis, MBA, TTS, Chief Executive Officer of Gulfcoast North AHEC has served as President of the National AHEC Organization, the membership association for AHEC program offices and center directors.  It’s not every day that you find a president who has dedicated most of their life to the organization like Mathis, who has worked at Gulfcoast North AHEC almost 25 years.

Gulfcoast North CEO, Christina Mathis, MBA, TTS,

Mathis is a first-generation college graduate of the University of South Florida. As the face of NAO, she traveled across the country to advocate for AHEC and other Title VII health workforce programs with visits to congressional and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) leadership. Mathis also represented NAO in its dealings with institutions such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Rural Health Association. As her presidential term comes to a close in September, Mathis was recognized this summer at NAO’s Annual Business Meeting with the President’s Award for outstanding service to the organization. “I have been extremely fortunate over the years to have many wonderful colleagues, mentors and board members that have supported me,” said Mathis, who is proud to represent her alma mater on the local and national levels. USF couldn’t be prouder of her.

NAO also recognized Gulfcoast South AHEC Chief Executive Officer Ansley Mora, MNM, TTS, and staff member Liliana Irwin, CMI-CCI, for the extraordinary accomplishments of the Advanced Cultural Competence Education and Support Services (ACCESS) Program.

Gulfcoast South CEO, Ansley Mora, MNM, TTS

ACCESS Program Director, Liliana Irwin, CCMI-CCI

The ACCESS Program offers medical interpreting training, national certification preparation, language mediator and cultural competency training, basic occupational Spanish for the health care and public safety settings, and more. NAO recognized the ACCESS Program with the Dr. Andy Nichols Social Justice Award, given in honor of Dr. Andrew W. Nichols, a visionary who lived a life of service in the pursuit of health care for all.

It’s leaders like Mathis, Mora, and Irwin that enable AHECs across the country to play key roles in addressing the imbalance in quality of and access to health care across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic divides. Congratulations to these outstanding individuals.