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To enhance access to quality healthcare, particularly primary and preventive care, by improving the supply and distribution of healthcare professionals through community/academic educational partnerships.



 Montana AHEC Regions


Montana AHEC Program Office Western Montana AHEC North Central Montana AHEC
PO Box 170520

Bozeman, MT 59717

Tel: 406-994-6003

Fax: 406-994-5653

Kristin Juliar

1205 East Broadway Street
Room 103

Missoula, MT 59802

Tel: 406-243-4746
Fax: 406-243-4141

Barry Kenfield

2625 Winne Avenue
Helena, MT 59601 

Tel: 406-457-8018
Fax: 406-443-3894

Shani Rich
 South Central Montana AHEC Eastern Montana AHEC      North Eastern Montana AHEC
2625 Winne Avenue

Helena, MT 59601

Tel: 406-457-8048
Fax: 406-443-3894

Natascha Robinson

123 S. 27th Street
Billings, MT 59101

Tel: 406-247-3297
Fax: 406-651-6418

Mary Helgeson

519 Pleasant Street
Miles City, MT 59301

Tel: 406-234-1424
Fax: 406-234-1423

Christine Williams


  • Professionalism – We conduct all aspects of work in an ethical and responsible manner
  • Collaboration – We cooperate to share information and resources to improve health and healthcare 
  • Partnerships – We respect and support the efforts of local, state, and federal stakeholders
  • Open Communication – We strive for a transparent, respectful, and dynamic exchange of information
  • Integrity and Accountability – We carry out all activities in an honest, trustworthy, and dependable manner

The mission of the Montana AHEC is accomplished by pursuing goals, objectives and activities which are common to all AHECs. These are changed and /or modified each year in response to decisions made by the federal granting agency and the Regional WWAMI AHEC Program Office at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The following guidelines are used in establishing annual goals, objectives and activities.

  • Form productive linkages between healthcare units to the benefit of underserved and rural communities.

  • Foster and encourage collaborative community-based health programs.

  • Increase the number of minority and underserved youth entering health education programs.

  • Serve as a resource, clearinghouse and disseminatory of health information.

  • Promote improved health and disease prevention through educational interventions.

  • Respond to emerging community-based needs regarding health issues.

  • Provide technical assistance on healthcare-related issues to underserved communities.

  • Help implement collaborative community-based, multidisciplinary education and training for health professionals and health professions students.

The AHEC program was developed by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations. Grants to fund AHECs were always made to the medical school(s) within the states. The only exception to this has been the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSM). In this case, the federal government provided funding to the UWSM to start AHECs in Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho, all partners in the Regional WWAMI program.
On October 1st, 1985, the Montana AHEC was implemented. This regional WWAMI AHEC office was located at Montana State University in Bozeman. In September 2007, under new rules allowing Colleges of Nursing to apply for AHEC grants, the MSU College of Nursing applied and was awarded a grant from the Health Resource Service Administration to establish four regional AHEC offices in Montana in addition to the Bozeman Program Office.
In 2007, the first two centers were established. The South Central Regional AHEC was set up in Dillon under the auspices of the Montana Hospital Association and the Eastern Regional AHEC was set up in Billings at RiverStone Health. The Western Regional AHEC, located in Missoula and hosted by the University of Montana, was established in September 2008. In January 2010, the fourth center, the North Central Regional AHEC, was established in Cut Bank, Montana. The fifth and final center, the North Eastern Regional AHEC, was establish in 2014 in Miles City.
Once in place, each center has up to six years of funding that will total approximately $1.5 million. After six years of startup funding, the centers receive a more modest grant and are expected to be self-sufficient. Each region has a director/program manager, an established regional advisory council, and works to develop healthcare workforce strategies for their own region.