1971: The Area Health Education Center (AHEC) national initiative begins to improve the accessibility and quality of primary health care. The program encourages universities and educators to look beyond their institutions to create partnerships that meet community health needs, work toward the goal of decentralizing health professions training, and link communities with academic health centers to promote cooperative solutions to local health problems.
1990: Wisconsin's AHEC program begins with a small state grant. Four regional centers are created to support programming across the state. The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health provides space and hosts administrative and program staff for the AHEC Statewide Program Office on the UW-Madison campus.
1991: Federal funding begins to increase and support Wisconsin's AHEC program.
2003: Wisconsin's four AHEC centers are configured to improve program delivery. Milwaukee AHEC assumed responsibility for additional southern counties. Eastern AHEC moved north and became Northeastern AHEC. Southwest AHEC added a few northwestern counties. Northern AHEC continued to serve a 33-county region in the northern half of the state.
2006-2007: A comprehensive assessment of programs, partnerships, and direction culminated in another configuration. The Northern region divided into three Centers (North Central, Northern Highland, and Northwest AHECs) and the southwest region into two Centers (Scenic Rivers and South Central AHECs). A total of seven regional Centers were established.
2008: Northern AHEC remained the 501(c)3 organization and became the fiscal agent for the 3 incorporated northern Centers.
2015-2016: Northern Highlands and Northwest AHEC became 501(c)3 organizations, and Northern AHEC was officially renamed North Central AHEC. The 3 northern Centers were now stand-alone Centers, each serving 11 counties in their regions.
Current: North Central AHEC continues to serve its 11 counties. At the national, state, and local levels, AHECs programming continues to focus on diversity and distribution of the healthcare workforce. In addition, a new focus of AHEC, starting in 2018, will be practice transformation and the development of the AHEC Scholars Program.