February 2020 was an exciting month for South Central Alaska AHEC! In partnership with North Star Behavioral Hospital, we held our first Mental Health Specialist PATH Academy. Funded by the State of Alaska Department of Labor, this three-week training prepared students for a career in behavioral health as a mental health specialist. Participants received Mental Health First Aid certification and were trained in ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), vital signs, patient monitoring, charting, medical terminology and much more! Students spent two days shadowing at North Star and were interviewed for entry and higher-level positions.

Developing a support network of fellow classmates and having a lot of fun were side-effects of this training. “It was fantastic!” exclaimed one student. Another student shared, “I appreciate all of the time and knowledge shared.” 80% of participants who completed the program received job offers!

Due to the overwhelming success of this PATH Academy, AHEC is planning another Mental Health Specialist this fall. Stay tuned for details!