NYIT approves partnership with Arkansas State for osteopathic medical school

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -The New York Institute of Technology released that their Board of Trustees approved a resolution on Friday for the development of the state's first osteopathic medical school.

This comes two weeks after the Arkansas State University Board of Trustees approved a resolution to partner with the New York Institution of Technology.

NYIT said they are now seeking accreditation.  

Chancellor Dr. Tim Hudson said NYIT has one of the most successful osteopathic programs in the country. Hudson hopes this will draw many medical students from surrounding areas and keep them here.

Wilson Hall will house the new osteopathic medical school, but some students said this door opened too late.

"Sophomores are looking forward to the prospect of having this school, and people like me are saying, 'Man, I wish we would have had it sooner,'" senior pre-med student Ryan Oliver said. "This would be my first choice if it were available now."

Oliver would prefer to stay at ASU, but now UAMS in Little Rock is his first choice.

"I'll go ahead and apply for medical school, and if for some reason down the road it doesn't work out, I'll try for the doctorate of osteopathy," Oliver said.

Hudson hopes future students will not have this problem.

"We hope many of them are from Arkansas and will stay in Arkansas when they complete their education," Hudson said.

A feasibility study revealed about 60 to 70 percent of osteopathic doctors choose to practice in the region where they went to school.

"You can imagine what scattering 60 or 70 doctors in this larger delta region, just not the counties we live next to, would mean for our region," Hudson said. "It would be absolutely transformative and something we really need to do."

Hudson said the study also reiterated a well-known fact: the delta is one of the worst areas in the country for health care.

"Can you imagine the people who authorized this university over 100 years ago, what they would think to have an opportunity to have medical education right here for Arkansans in an area that desperately needs it," Hudson said.

"It's a great idea to have this program. It's going to help out Arkansas a lot, having, generating more family doctors," Oliver said.

Hudson said the new osteopathic school will not be a financial burden on the public.

"We are not going to ask for state appropriation for these students because we believe we can work the financial model in another way," Hudson said. "So in that sense, I would agree that it is a game changer."

Hudson said ASU needs about $2 million to refurbish Wilson Hall, but the school has already set aside some of that money.

"We're looking forward to not only having the students on our campus, but being right in the hear of our campus," Hudson said.

Hudson said the NYIT Board of Trustees will discuss the partnership in several weeks.

Hudson said if all goes well, ASU will be welcome about 120 students to the program in the fall of 2016.

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