Nursing student Chelsey Palmer earns “Scholar of the Year” award

WARREN, OH (May 10, 2021) - Kent State University at Trumbull’s Chelsey Palmer, a soon-to-be graduating nursing student, was recently named one of two “Scholars of the Year” by the Eastern Ohio Area Health Education Center (AHEC). 

Palmer and Youngstown State University student Jake Weber earned the award which recognizes students who are exceptional in their approach, level of engagement, and connecting theory with practice while in the AHEC’s Scholars Program. It also considers the participant’s level of mentorship. 

The AHEC Scholars Program accepts college students who are in healthcare fields. Palmer first heard about the program when AHEC Center Director Maureen Drummond spoke to one of her classes. 

“Considering our rigorous nursing curriculum, it sounded like a huge commitment,” Palmer said. “It’s an intensive 80 hours of both didactic and experiential learning.”

Weighing the commitment and benefits, Palmer and fellow nursing student Tiffany Burwell decided to join. They both interviewed and were accepted. Students typically come from Youngstown State University, so Palmer and Burwell became the first students to participate from Kent State Trumbull. 

“We are so proud of Chelsey and Tiffany,” said Dr. Daniel Palmer, Kent State Trumbull’s interim dean and chief administrative officer, as well as an AHEC board member. “Kent State and its regional campuses strive to serve and strengthen our communities. AHEC has been a catalyst for positive healthcare change since it was formed in 1978 and having our students be part of this is an honor.”

During the pandemic, they were not able to do many things in person. However, they gained insight into rural and medically underserved communities and were part of conversations to begin problem-solving for the future. One bright side to the pandemic, participants were able to watch real-life events unfold and learn from top infectious disease experts/community leaders about the issues and what they were doing to solve them. 

They also learned high-level and marketable skills such as suturing techniques. Palmer joked that when she brought home the suture kit, she told her husband, Michael, that she was waiting for an opportunity to stitch him up. 

“This has been an incredible experience,” Palmer said. “When you graduate from the program, you have met and made connections with decision-makers in the community and learn synergistic approaches to lessen class-inequities and disparities.”

Palmer encourages current Kent State Trumbull nursing students to consider joining AHEC. “I would love to see more students from Kent State Trumbull get involved and I would love to talk more about this incredible program to anyone interested.”

Palmer graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing on Saturday, May 15, and recently accepted a position at Mercy Health-St. Joseph Warren Hospital in the progressive intermediate intensive care unit. Before AHEC, she had been applying for positions out of state or a few hours away.

Palmer, a Mathews High School graduate, said AHEC solidified her choice to stay local after graduation. “While completing the program, I wanted more and more to focus my passion on the Mahoning Valley,” Palmer said. “Now, I will always have a passion for public health and solving community disparities and inequities. I want to be part of the solution.”

Besides being a full-time nursing student and part of the AHEC Scholars Program, Palmer is president of Kent State Trumbull’s Undergraduate Student Government, in the Honors College, a member of the University Diversity Action Council, and now she will be on AHEC’s Advisory Council.

In 1978, Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) was initiated in Ohio to promote primary care practice and to educate health professions students about the needs of medically underserved populations. Today, AHEC supports graduate medicine, pharmacy and other health professions education for the recruitment, training, and retention of health care professionals. In addition to serving 19 counties in Northeast Ohio, our program supports national initiatives conducted through the National AHEC Organization.

The NEOMED AHEC Program is linked through four community-based centers: Akron-Region Interprofessional, Canton Regional, Cleveland- Region Interprofessional, and Eastern Ohio. These centers plan and develop educational programs based on their assessment of local resources, health personnel needs and the interest of each community.

In addition to health care education, the AHEC has developed high school and undergraduate recruitment programs, continuing education, and professional development opportunities in collaboration with other universities in Northeast Ohio.

The AHEC Program is funded by the Ohio Department of Higher Education; the Health Resources and Services Administration; by partner universities; local grants and program-generated funds.


POSTED: Monday, May 10, 2021 - 8:20pm
UPDATED: Monday, May 10, 2021 - 8:29pm