About Us

The West Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program is a coordinated effort between the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), health care providers, communities and counties across West Texas. The collaborative program focuses on developing the health care providers of the future as well as supporting current health professionals in West Texas.

The mission of the West Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is to address the health care provider shortage and improve health care access in West Texas through education and development of the health care workforce.

To accomplish its mission, the West Texas AHEC focuses on the following strategies:

  • Introduce youth, K-12, to health careers
  • Support rural clinical training for students who are in the health professions
  • Provide practice support to existing health care professionals
  • Promote healthy living

The West Texas AHEC serves 105 counties in the western half of Texas. The service area has been divided into five AHEC regions covering the South Plains, Panhandle, West Central Texas, Permian Basin and far West Texas.

Program services are carried out at the local and regional level through Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), which are hosted by local community organizations in partnership with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. One of the key components of Area Health Education Centers is that they are community-based to better meet the local health care education and health professional support needs.


The West Texas AHEC program was started in May 2002 by the TTUHSC Office of Rural and Community Health, with the opening of its first center, AHEC of the Plains, in Plainview, Texas. Since then, four other centers have opened - Big Country AHEC, Desert Mountain AHEC, Panhandle AHEC, and Permian Basin AHEC.