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Andy MacCracken named NC AHEC’s new director for NC Center on the Workforce for Health

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The North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) recently announced the first full-time director for the NC Center on the Workforce for Health (the Center). Andy MacCrackken joined the team in February and will help lead the Center in their efforts to tackle North Carolina’s health care workforce challenges. 

A top priority for the Center is “developing and deploying comprehensive strategies to address the state’s worsening health care worker shortages,” according to a press release announcing MacCracken’s hire.

MacCracken has over a decade of experience in public policy, advocacy, and research. In his previous role at the North Carolina Pandemic Recovery Office, MacCracken oversaw and coordinated the state’s economic response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. During that time, MacCracken “led policy initiatives, including analysis of $110 billion in recovery funds and managing more than $200 million in programs supporting the state’s education, workforce and health needs through grants from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.”

MacCracken has also previously consulted for education organizations in North Carolina, including the NC Office of Strategic Partnerships, The Hunt Institute, and EdNC.

NC AHEC executive director Hugh Tilson said MacCracken has a vital role and will help shape the Center’s long-term vision.

“Andy’s skills and experience are the perfect fit to drive the work of the Center to produce the outcomes we need – the right workforce, in the right places, doing the right work to help everyone in North Carolina be healthy,” Tilson said.

NC AHEC’s mission is “to provide and support educational activities and services with a focus on primary care in rural communities and those with less access to resources to recruit, train, and retain the workforce needed to create a healthy North Carolina.”

Through continuing professional development programs, health care professionals receive affordable training and continuing education to keep them apprised on new research, emerging technologies, best practices, and the latest advancements in their field. NC AHEC’s support teams ensure that medical practices, particularly those in rural locations, have the help they need to stay up to date with the ever-changing health care system.

NC AHEC started in 1972 to address “national and state concerns with the supply, distribution, and retention of health care professionals.” By 1974, North Carolina’s General Assembly supported a plan to create a statewide network. With federal and state legislative support, NC AHEC has grown to include a program office, a network of nine regional AHECs, and the Duke AHEC program.

The NC Center on the Workforce for Health was developed in 2021 with the intention to address the continued health care workforce shortages in North Carolina. One of the goals of the Center is to “provide a forum for health employers, workers, educators, regulators, policymakers, and others throughout North Carolina to convene, discuss challenges and opportunities, share best practices and lessons learned, identify potential solutions and metrics for success, and monitor progress toward addressing these challenges.” 

You can read more about the work of NC AHEC here.

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is the Director of Postsecondary Attainment for EducationNC.