About Us

"ECMO AHEC's programs are vital in addressing the problems we face in health care today. The need for more physicians and allied health professionals of color is of paramount..."

George Rausch, Ed.D. former Associate Dean Multicultural Affairs SLU, School of Medicine ECMO AHEC Board Member


The East Central Missouri Area Health Education Center (ECMO AHEC), established in 1998, is part of a nationwide system of East Central Missouri Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) that work in partnership with local communities, schools, universities, and healthcare providers to improve access to healthcare in underserved communities, both urban and rural.

ECMO AHEC is one of seven regional centers that work in collaboration with the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, the University of Missouri Columbia School of Medicine and local communities to form the statewide Missouri AHEC (MAHEC).

The mission of MAHEC is to enhance access to quality health care, particularly primary and preventive care, by improving the supply and distribution of healthcare professionals through community/academic educational partnerships.

ECMO AHEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and supported by funds provided by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and other community organizations and grants from the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation.

The ECMO AHEC region comprises:

  • St. Louis City
  • St. Louis County
  • St. Charles County
  • Jefferson County
  • Franklin County

The target communities within these counties are those designated as medically underserved or having a shortage of health professionals.


James E. Balls II James E. Balls II, MSPH
St. Louis City Health
Department (retired)
Board President
Barbara Bowman Barbara Bowman
Vice President of Development
Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
Dennis Diehl Dennis Diehl, MPPA
Jefferson County Health Department
Board Vice President
Steve Fine
St. Louis County Department of Health (retired)
State of Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team
Board Treasurer
Geraldine Franklin, RN
Head Start Nurse
Grace Hill Neighborhood Health Centers
JoAnne Morrow, JD
Legal Services of Eastern Missouri
Board Secretary
Sandra Murdoch Sandra Murdoch
Science Educator (retired)
David Pole David Pole, MPH
Deputy Director, AHEC Program Office
Saint Louis University, Department of Community and Family Medicine
George Rausch, Ed.D.
Assistant Dean of Multicultural Affairs
Saint Louis University School of Medicine
David Schneider David Schneider, MD, MSPH
AHEC Program Director
Chair, Saint Louis University Department of Family and Community Medicine
Lisa Stevenson, MBA
Director of Diversity Programs
Washington University School of Medicine


Alfreda Brown Alfreda Brown
Executive Director
314.772.9979, ext. 101
Neorn Brown Neorn Brown
Administrative Assistant
314.772.9979, ext. 100
Shearon Holmes Shearon Holmes
Director of Training
314.772.9979, ext. 104
Ellen Leuchtmann
Recruitment and Education Coordinator
314.772.9979, ext. 102


The AHEC (Area Health Education Center) program was developed by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations. Through community-based interdisciplinary training programs, AHEC's work to achieve this goal.

AHEC helps to bring the resources of academic medicine to bear in addressing local community health needs. By their very structure, AHEC's are able to respond in a flexible and creative manner in adapting national health initiatives to the particular needs of the nation's most vulnerable communications.

Today, 50 AHEC programs with more than 200 centers operate in almost every state and the District of Columbia. Approximately 120 medical schools and 600 nursing and allied health schools work collaboratively with AHECs and to improve health for underserved and under-represented populations.

Today's MAHEC system provides service throughout the entire state by creating partnerships, amplifying resources, and helping to educate communities on the need to proactively recruit, train, and retain healthcare personnel. Our many partnerships with community action groups, social service agencies, and healthcare providers make MAHEC a critical collaborator in improving the healthcare workforce.

ECMO AHEC was made possible after federal funding to Missouri in 1988 established the foundation for an AHEC system to address the mal-distribution crisis in the state's healthcare workforce. Since then, the seven regional centers that have been established and three of Missouri's medical schools, along with numerous collaborators across the state, have taken up the torch to improve the supply and distribution of multiple healthcare disciplines through community-based training and recruitment.