Arkansas board approves plan for osteopathic medical school

Arkansas board approves plan for osteopathic medical school

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) – Arkansas State University was given the final approval Friday from the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board to bring an osteopathic medical school to Jonesboro. The board voted, with one vote against the project, to add the medical site to the Jonesboro campus.

The New York Institute of Technology certification will offer three additional degrees at Arkansas State University. The degrees to be offered are Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, the Master of Science in Medical/Health Care Simulation and the Master of Science in Neuromusculoskeletal Sciences, according to a news release.

Arkansas State University began pursuing an osteopathic medical school last year. This September, the university, along with NYIT, will appear before the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.

"We appreciate the great cooperation of all of the parties involved in getting us to this point today," Shane Broadway, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, said in a release. "It has required a great deal of time and effort by our staff and that of Arkansas State, NYIT and the State Medical Board. We look forward to seeing great things with this partnership for our state."

According to the release, NYIT's College of Osteopathic Medicine and ASU hope enroll 115 students in the Class of 2016.

"Collaborating with a nationally respected, well established osteopathic medical school and dozens of partners in the mid-South medical community will enable us to address the shortage of primary care physicians in the underserved Delta," said Dr. Tim Hudson, chancellor of Arkansas State, in the release. "We're also proud that we can minimize the startup investment while maximizing the transformative impact on our university, community and state. We want to thank the Higher Education Coordinating Board and Director Broadway and his staff, and we look forward to the next important step with the COCA board."

The projected cost of the project is at least $10 million dollars. ASU will invest $4 million to renovate and furnish Wilson Hall. NYIT will invest $6 million dollars to help boost the program in the first three years, according to the release. That money will go toward start-up operating funds and faculty for the first three years.

The project started in June, 2013, when Chancellor Hudson announced intent to establish an osteopathic school at ASU. By August, Tripp Unbach was selected to perform a feasibility study for the school. That study noted a need for an osteopathic medical school in Northeast Arkansas. The nearest osteopathic school from Jonesboro is 367 miles away in Hattiesburg, MS.

In February, 2014, the ASU Board of Trustees approved the plan to partner with NYIT.

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