Another Osteopathic Medical School for Arkansas Under Consideration

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 12:00 am  

Frazier Edwards

The Fort Smith Regional Healthcare Foundation has been added to the list of organizations that want to open an osteopathic medical school in Arkansas.

Arkansas State University at Jonesboro also has announced its intention of opening a school.

Both organizations have feasibility studies in the works to decide if they will move forward with the idea.

Fort Smith Regional Healthcare Foundation Chairman Kyle Parker said that if the consultants give the green light, which might be in March or April, the foundation will start making moves to begin the school. “We feel very confident or, obviously, we wouldn’t have started this project,” Parker said.

If everything goes according to plan, a school could be opened in two years.

On the consultant’s “to study” list is where to put the school. Parker said it hasn’t been decided whether to construct a building or rent about 30,000 SF.

Parker said the school will be a private institution and will not seek state funding.

To pay for the school, the foundation has about $50 million “to invest in the health for underprivileged and underserved in this region” and the rest of Arkansas, Parker said.

He said the school anticipates about 600 students, which would help ease the shortage of physicians in Arkansas. Arkansas is ranked 48th among states in physicians per capita based on a 2010 study by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Center for Rural Health.

The Arkansas Osteopathic Medical Association is supporting the Fort Smith project. “We’re excited to work with them in addressing their needs to serve the underserved and indigent in Arkansas,” said Frazier Edwards, executive director of the association. “Our association initiated this project over five years ago, and we initiated the statewide project.”

ASU’s Progress

ASU also is working on its plans for an osteopathic school.



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