BCC and Berkshire AHEC collaborate to create new continuing education programs
Berkshire Community College (BCC) and the Berkshire Area Health Education Center (AHEC) are excited to announce the creation of the “BCC Area Health Education Collaborative,” a partnership designed to foster innovation and expand their impact and reach. In order to facilitate the development of joint programs, the Collaborative will reside on the College’s main campus.
Berkshire AHEC is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to educating health professionals in order to ensure quality healthcare in the Berkshires. BCC shares AHEC’s goals of enhancing the quality of life in the region and strengthening the healthcare sector, which is vital to this rural economy. This strategic partnership promises to further the respective missions of Berkshire AHEC and the College; this will benefit the entire region.
“Through this collaborative partnership, BCC aims to enter a vital new market space while serving the needs of our community,” Jill Sasso Curtis, Dean of Community Engagement, Education and Workforce Development, said. “With regard to continuing education, the College’s ultimate goal would be to enhance the current Berkshire AHEC mission, serving current as well as new populations and creating new programs, conferences and events to meet their needs. While our focus will be on developing the local healthcare workforce and serving the health education needs of the Berkshire Community, we also plan to serve audiences beyond the Berkshires.”
The College and Berkshire AHEC are also interested in developing significant initiatives related to health professions education that would be credit-based. Together they will explore ways to increase the interest of prospective and current BCC students in health professions, including nursing, medicine, dental and public health, creating pathways from BCC into those professions.
The BCC and Berkshire AHEC teams are excited about the potential for the BCC Area Health Education Collaborative. “Our joint capabilities are tremendous,” Sasso-Curtis said. “Each organization brings seasoned professionals, resources, valuable relationships in the community and beyond, and unique expertise to this endeavor. I am confident that this will be an opportunity to achieve impact on a greater scale.”
Charles Joffe-Halpern, the Executive Director of Berkshire AHEC, agreed, adding: “This collaboration with Berkshire Community College, with their health professions programs along with their commitment to the greater Berkshire Community, is very exciting.”
Over the next year, the two organizations will create joint continuing education programs through the Collaborative, with the intention of integrating more deeply as the collaboration proves to be successful. During this exploratory period, they will work together to develop a shared vision for a long-term partnership. The Collaborative will be under the joint direction of the Executive Director of Berkshire AHEC and the College’s Dean of Community Engagement, Education and Workforce Development.