Message from the Executive Director:


Mary J. Mitchell.jpg

Welcome to the Manhattan Staten Island (MSI) AHEC. The programs and services of the MSI AHEC are designed to meet the needs of various groups entering, or already a part of the health care system.  As Executive Director of the MSI AHEC, I encourage students to use the information here to support your efforts to pursue the health professions of your choice. I encourage parents to use this site to increase your resources to assist your children in achieving their health career goals, and I encourage health professionals and health care providers to join us in providing opportunities for underrepresented individuals to experience and learn the health care industry.

Thank you for your interest.

Mary J. Mitchell


Our History and Purpose

The Manhattan Staten Island Area Health Education Center (MSI AHEC) was incorporated in May, 2004 to address health care disparities through increased workforce diversity, and improve access to health care by providing education services particularly for medically underserved communities.

The MSI AHEC is part of both a national program, with centers in 46 states, and a New York statewide system, developed in 1998, with four regions designed to support nine centers throughout the state.

New York’s ninth and newest AHEC is located in the heart of Harlem and serves the counties of New York (Manhattan) and Richmond (Staten Island).

There are approximately 1.5 million people living in Manhattan, and just over 440,000 on Staten Island. The populations in both Manhattan and Staten Island are diverse; according to the 2000 census the populace in Manhattan is defined as: 46% White, 27% Hispanic, 15% Black, 9% Asian and 2% Other; in Staten Island, the populace is defined as: 71% White, 12% Hispanic, 9% Black, 5% Asian and 2% Other.

There are 9 school districts within the geographic boundaries of Manhattan and Staten Island; these districts fall into 3 public school regions: 7 (SI), 9 and 10 (Manhattan). With the New York City public school system in disarray, its failures disproportionately affect students of color (38% of students are Latino; 34% Black; 14% White), many of whom are from impoverished backgrounds (approximately 70% of students in Manhattan/Staten Island public schools receive free/reduced price lunch). AHEC helps to promote minority interest in the health-care professions through programs like the Summer Health Internship Program (SHIP), which provides high school and college students exposure to the health field.

Such initiatives are extremely important in Manhattan and Richmond Counties, where minorities are underrepresented in the health care professions, and many live in Medically Undeserved Areas (MUA) or are designated as Medically Undeserved Populations (MUP); in Manhattan these areas have been identified in Clinton, East Harlem, Central Harlem, Washington Heights/Inwood, portions of Chinatown and the Lower East Side; in Staten Island it is primarily in regions of Community District 1.

Additionally, in Manhattan there are 2 population groups and 3 geographic areas designated as Health Professional Shortages Areas (HPSAs) are designation by the Health Resources and Services Administration given to an appropriate area, population, or a facility serving either of those two); the areas are: Lower East Side, West Central Harlem, and Washington Heights. There are 4 community health centers in New York County designated as serving these communities. In Richmond, while there are no population or geographic area HPSA designations, there are 3 HPSA designated community health centers identified as working with the medically undeserved. The regions identified as MUA or HPSA have in common the vast number of minorities, especially Blacks and Latinos, living within their boundaries. These identified populations not only have significant health problems, including high rates of HIV/AIDS, asthma, and diabetes, but also numerous socioeconomic hardships. Of the over 1.5 million people in Manhattan, about 20% are living below the poverty level, and around 36% are below 200% of the poverty level; both of these rates are higher than at the state level (14.6% and 30% respectively). In Staten Island, these percentages are tempered and fall below that at the state level, with less than 10% of the population living below the poverty line and 21.8% living below 200% of the poverty level. These poverty rates, again, disproportionately affect minority populations, and are elevated in the Black and Latino communities in Manhattan and Staten Island.

Available to students and health care consumers in the Manhattan/Staten Island AHEC area are:

  • 5 medical schools
  • 39 health professions schools
  • 54 health professions programs
  • 32 hospitals

Through its initiatives, MSI AHEC aims to increase the number of minorities in health care delivery, and develop professionals to serve those communities that need them the most.