In partnership with communities across the state, AHEC has coordinated the award-winning Wisconsin Express program since the mid 1990s. This program gives health professions students a unique opportunity to become immersed in Wisconsin’s diverse communities and cultures, while they explore health care delivery and public health in medically underserved areas, learning with and from students in other disciplines.
The week-long program is held annually in mid-May at about a dozen regional sites, with selected additional offerings during Spring Break.
Mixed discipline student teams arrive on Sunday or Monday, and spend a week in their host communities. Activities vary, and typically include presentations from community residents, participation in community activities, visits to community agencies and resources, interactions with local health care professionals, and interactive learning exercises or group projects. The experience concludes either Thursday evening or Friday with a wrap-up, reflection and evaluation session. Past hosts have included rural, American Indian, Hmong, Somali, Amish, and multicultural urban communities.
After participating in the program, students have reported feeling better prepared to make decisions about their future careers and where they might like to practice their professions. In addition, they have enjoyed the chance to work with students from other disciplines and experience being a member of an Interprofessional team.
Eligibility and Application Process:
- All students enrolled in health professions programs throughout the state’s public and private colleges and universities are invited to apply. In past years, students have come from physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine, pharmacy, nursing (all levels), nutritional science, social work, global health, public health, physician assistant programs, and more.
- The application period begins in December and runs into early February for the May sites. An earlier application deadline is in effect when the program is offered during Spring Break.
- The application includes submission of essays, but does not require transcripts or letters of reference.
- Due to the large number of interested students, priority is given to students closer to completion of their academic program and those who have employment experience in health care settings; it is rare for a college freshman to be offered a placement.
- Students who require financial assistance to participate in Wisconsin Express will have an opportunity to request financial support at the time of application. Partial scholarships are awarded on occasion, dependent on available funds.
Program Fee: $210 for the week per participant. There is no application fee.