Kenneth Heiles Named Dean of Proposed Fort Smith Osteopathic Medical School

by Lee Hogan  on Thursday, May. 15, 2014 10:39 am  

Kenneth A. Heiles, D.O.

Plans for another osteopathic school at the Jonesboro campus of Arkansas State University are also moving forward. The Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees approved a resolution in February that would allow it to partner with the New York Institute of Technology to develop the medical school.

An Arkansas State commissioned-study showed an osteopathic medical school in the region would help meet demand for primary-care physicians and inject $70 million into the area.

The study also found there is a shortage of physicians in northeast Arkansas and the Delta that will worsen within the next five years as more than a quarter of the state's physicians retire.

Arkansas currently ranks 48th among states in physicians per capita based on a 2010 study by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Center for Rural Health. 

Despite the study, Dan Rahn, chancellor of the state's only medical school, told Arkansas Business in February the focus should be on adding residency slots instead of opening medical schools.

According to Rahn, there were 528 graduates nationwide in 2013 that did not find a residency program.

While admitting there is a shortage of physicians in the state, Rahn said if the residency issue is not dealt with Arkansas runs the risk of educating graduates that will not contribute to solving problems within the state.



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