Kyle Parker Named CEO of Planned Osteopathic School in Fort Smith

Kyle D. Parker, past board chairman for the Fort Smith Regional Healthcare Foundation, has been named president and CEO of the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education and the proposed Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine at Chaffee Crossing in Fort Smith. 

The foundation's board voted to move ahead with plans for the osteopathic school in February, when the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority donated 200 acres to the project. The foundation wants to open the school in fall 2017.

"I'm excited to accept the challenge of bringing this community's vision to life," Parker said in a news release. "Fort Smith is the perfect home for a school of this caliber, and we will focus our efforts on being able to fill gaps in health care and provide care for the medically underserved.

"We've said it before; it's not about building a school, it's about recognizing needs in our area, in Arkansas and Oklahoma, and across the U.S., and using our resources to fulfill that need," he said. 

The foundation says that once its fully operational, the school will serve about 600 students and employ more than 60 full-time equivalent jobs with an average salary "in excess of $103,000."

Parker has a background in law, education, private banking and acquisitions. Before 2011, he was vice chancellor of operations at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. In a previous career, Parker was the creator of, the first searchable legal information website. The site grew into publicly traded company that was later acquired by Wolters Kluwer in 2001.

"Kyle Parker brings vision, passion and years of business experience and expertise to the role of CEO of the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education," John Taylor, the foundation's board chairman, said. "We are very fortunate to have Kyle serve as CEO as we develop a medical campus beginning with a proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine.

"Kyle also served on the board of Sparks Hospital when the hospital was sold," Taylor said. "Kyle and the board are committed to reinvesting the proceeds from the sale of community owned Sparks Hospital for the maximum good of our area."

Parker has a B.A. from Arkansas Tech University and a J.D. from Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire.

Arkansas State University is also considering creating its own osteopathic medical school in Jonesboro. ASU has said an osteopathic medical school in Jonesboro would help meet a demand for primary-care physicians in the Delta and inject $70 million into the region.