Lyon College of Batesville will announce an update today on its efforts to establish a dental school in Little Rock, a story Arkansas Business broke in April.
The broad strokes are this: The private liberal arts college will partner with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to “identify opportunities for joint teaching, research, graduate education and professional development” for the Lyon College School of Oral Health & Dental Medicine.
Lyon and UAMS have signed a memorandum of understanding outlining their agreement. Lyon College President Melissa Taverner said the “collaboration represents a partnership between two historic institutions dedicated to the health and education of Arkansas.”
Dr. Stephanie Gardner, UAMS senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, said the partnership “will ensure the highest-level programmatic achievement for the new Lyon College Institute of Health Sciences and fulfill UAMS’ mission to improve the health and health care of Arkansas.”
The move comes roughly six years after UAMS last studied the possibility of creating its own dental school. The medical school has an oral health clinic and offers a dental general practice residency.
Lyon announced in April plans to work with OneHealth Education Group of Little Rock to establish the state’s first dental and veterinary schools under its Institute of Health Sciences. In May, it announced that it would purchase the 28-acre campus of Heifer International of Little Rock — including its four-story, 94,000-SF main building — to house both programs. The purchase of the building has yet to close.
Lyon aims to start classes as early as fall 2024, but it first must achieve accreditation for both programs and hire faculty.