LAREDO, Texas – The Mid Rio Grande Border Area Health Education Center recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with a gala at the IBC Bank Annex in Laredo.

AHEC was established in 1993 by a group of Laredo community leaders and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The aim was to help address the growing need for health care professionals and academic resources in the region.

AHEC is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization with a mission of AHEC is to enhance the quality of life in communities by:

  • Increasing the number of health care workers in the region
  • Enhancing academic resources and support to health care providers
  • Fostering a healthy lifestyle through community education programs

Programs are offered to every individual in the counties of Webb, Zapata, Jim Hogg, LaSalle, Dimmit and Duval counties.

Programs include accredited continuing education conferences/workshops for practicing professionals; pipeline programs for elementary to college level students to spark an interest in a higher education and health careers; and health education and information for the community at large to help each one make informed decisions.

“These last 25 years have been remarkable and prosperous for over 100,000 individuals who have received services through the AHEC menu of programs,” said Julie Bazan, executive director of AHEC.

The AHEC Hero award was presented to Ike Epstein and the Sisters of Mercy. Sister Rosemary Welsh and Sister Maria Luisa Vera accepted the award on behalf of the group.

The above podcast features some of the speeches from the gala, including state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, AHEC President Mercurio Martinez, and Blas Castañeda, co-chair of the gala fundraising committee and a founding member of the organization.