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For more than four decades, the North Carolina Area Health Education Center (NC AHEC) Program has worked to improve the overall health of the state’s communities. The UNC School of Medicine today announced that Warren Newton, MD, MPH, will continue the NC AHEC legacy as director, effective Sept. 1, 2013.

“As a family physician, scholar and teacher, Dr. Newton has an impressive track record of leadership both statewide and nationally in both care redesign and education,” said William L. Roper, MD, MPH, dean of the UNC School of Medicine. “He also has founded and led many statewide health initiatives, working closely with health care leaders and professionals across the spectrum. His readiness to collaborate, coupled with a passion for new models of care, will serve AHEC well.”

In his previous role as vice dean for education at the UNC School of Medicine, Dr. Newton was actively involved with AHEC and the expansion of opportunities for medical students, residents and practice support across the state.

Dr. Newton will step down from his role as vice dean for education, but will continue to serve as the William B. Aycock Professor and chair of Family Medicine at the school. He also will remain chair of the Board of Advisors for the Cecil G. Sheps Health Services Research Center and as an adjunct professor of Epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health.

“The number of health care professionals across our state continues to dwindle, and Dr. Newton’s direct connection to educating the next generation of family physicians will help advance AHEC’s mission,” said Dr. Roper.

As a partnership between UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, Wake Forest University and East Carolina University, AHEC operates nine centers across the state. With support from North Carolina, AHECs provide valuable training opportunities for health care professionals as well as greater access to high quality care, regardless of the ability to pay.

“AHEC provides our state with a unique opportunity to work across institutions and across professions to improve the health of North Carolinians,” said Dr. Newton. “Thanks to the strong past leadership of the program and tremendous support from the State of North Carolina, AHEC is a leader in health care innovation across the country. I am honored to take the reins and look forward to working with others to advance its mission.”

Published August 7, 2013.