The Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) was formed in 2014 with one employee and a mission. The mission is to educate and train a diverse group of highly competent and compassionate health care professionals, to create health and research support facilities, and to provide healthy living environments to improve the lives of others. The one employee, Kyle D. Parker, JD, President and CEO, has led the drive that has launched four health care graduate education programs in the past eight years. These programs include the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (2017), Master of Science in Biomedicine program (2019), School of Physical Therapy (2021) and School of Occupational Therapy (2022). In addition to these programs, ACHE now boasts two national award-winning educational facilities and over 200 employees.
Each unique ACHE program shares a common goal of training competent health care professionals who are motivated to serve the underserved. ACHE takes its work seriously because, for over two decades, Arkansas has ranked in the bottom five states for health outcomes, including health disparities and chronic disease. By educating health care professionals, ACHE can transform the health of the city, state and region.
In addition to serving the physical health needs of the surrounding community, ACHE is committed to supporting holistic wellness. The Village at Heritage on campus includes local restaurants and shops, a 24/7 fitness center, scenic walking trails, traditional neighborhood housing options for students and the public and a pavilion for community events and live music. Construction is underway on the Celebration Garden & Wellness Park, which will showcase beautiful water features, outdoor exercise equipment, a walking pond and much more. The ACHE campus is a place to relax and recharge.
The ACHE Research Institute Health & Wellness Center is the next step toward teaching new generations about health and wellness. ACHE purchased the 317,000-square-foot former Golden Living facility in 2020, and renovations are currently underway. The facility will include a 60,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art biomedical research lab. In addition, the 60,000-square-foot first floor will be transformed into the Health & Wellness Center. This space will feature an art gallery, spaces for art instruction and an artist-in-residence program, a dance studio and community and culinary kitchens where nutrition education can take place. The outdoor areas will include an art walk, community garden, multi-use trail system and more. From biomedical research to nutrition education, ACHE is making every effort to positively impact the wellness of the community and state.
Future expansion includes the School of Physician Assistant Studies, the addition of Haas Hall Academy to the ACHE campus and the expansion of the Village at Heritage. If there’s anything the past eight years have shown ACHE, it’s that this is just the beginning of its mission.