West River Area Health Education Center

The West River Area Health Education Center (WRAHEC) was established in 2019 on the campus of Western Dakota Tech.  Formed by an independent consortium of healthcare, community, and academic stakeholders as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, WRAHEC’s goal is to build a healthcare career pipeline for our region to ensure happy and healthy communities in the future.

The WRAHEC serves the communities and Native nations within the following South Dakota counties:  Bennett, Butte, Custer, Fall River, Haakon, Harding, Jackson, Jones, Lawrence, Meade, Mellette, Oglala Lakota, Pennington, Perkins, Stanley, and Todd.  Fifteen of these counties are designated as rural or frontier areas and all of them contain areas designated as medically underserved.

What makes your program unique?

The WRAHEC is the third (and latest) South Dakota AHEC site, joining the NESD AHEC in Aberdeen, and the SESD AHEC in Yankton.  The South Dakota AHEC program office is housed at the USD Sanford School of Medicine in Sioux Falls.  With a large and diverse geographic footprint, SD faces many challenges while ensuring quality healthcare is available in all areas of the state.  It is the mission of the WRAHEC to develop programs, educational resources, collaborative efforts, and vision-casting to enrich, expand, and engage all of those interested in pursuing a career in healthcare in SD.  Through innovation, collaboration and excellence, WRAHEC is connecting students to careers, professionals to communities, and communities to better health.

What programs do you offer to students in the West River Area? 

  • K-8:  Early exposure to healthcare careers via our “You are the Cure” booklets along with onsite education about the many careers available in healthcare today 
  • High School:  Promote HOSA programs, Scrubs Camps, Career Pathways Education, Scholarship Opportunities, classroom and video presentations
  • Technical College:  CNA, EMS, LPN, other healthcare Certificates and Associate Degree information, Disaster Training Day partnership, Pathways to healthcare careers Guidance, WRAHEC Scholars Rural Healthcare Leadership Program, Scholarship Opportunities
  • College and University:  College level HOSA chapters, SD REHPS program, Pathways to healthcare careers Guidance, WRAHEC Scholars Rural Healthcare Leadership Program, Scholarship Opportunities
  • AHEC Scholars:  AHEC Scholars is a professional development and leadership program for health professions students interested in supplementing their education by gaining additional knowledge and experience in rural and underserved urban settings. The 18-month program is designed with interdisciplinary curricula to implement a defined set of clinical, didactic, and community-based activities. All experiential or clinical training will be conducted in rural and/or underserved urban settings.


Learn More