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Osteopathic medical schools in Arkansas are flexing their young muscles, sending hundreds of graduates to new residency programs and beginning to ease long-running physician shortages, according to school leaders and the Arkansas Medical Association.
The New York Institute of Technology Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Jonesboro will graduate its fourth physician class in May, and if patterns hold, most of the 120 or so graduates will fill in for residencies in the school district. Sixty percent of those who reside in Arkansas will be in residency programs that did not exist a decade ago.
The Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine at Fort Smith, along with its parent entity, the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education, continues its construction spree at Chaffey Crossing and subdivision of space in the 120,000-square-foot former Golden Living headquarters across town.
The school will be graduating its third class this year, and will also provide candidates for regional residencies. Studies have found that up to 80% of physicians nationwide begin their practice in the same areas in which they trained.
At least some of the students from the Jonesboro program could begin training this summer, said David Rutten, executive vice president of the Arkansas Medical Association.
“The Arkansas Medical Association supports the mission of our two schools of osteopathic medicine to help increase the number of physicians in Arkansas,” said Rutten. Arkansas Business. “We believe that once their graduates complete residency training and begin practicing, a large number of them will be recruited within the state, helping to provide a workforce for physicians.”
The programs began teaching in 2016 and 2017, Frutin said, and family physician preparation takes seven years and even longer for some specialties, so it will take time for the schools to show an impact.
“Given that between the two schools, we graduate three times as many medical schools as Arkansas,” he said, and that many graduates are likely to stay in the state, “it’s a safe bet to say that the schools are fulfilling their mission.”
Over the past three years, NYITCOM at Jonesboro has graduated at least 105 students annually, and ARCOM graduated about 150 students in 2021 and again last year. Kyle D. Parker, president and CEO of the Arkansas College of Health Education, and NYITCOM-Arkansas Dean Shane Speights says they are on the right track in their mission.
“It seems strange that we’re a medical school in Arkansas and have a name in New York, but that’s where our parent institution is,” Spates said. “But our students attend all four years of medical school here in the state, and most of them will serve Delta State and neighboring countries. The mission continues… to fill the needs of manpower shortages, specifically in rural and underserved areas. It is not an easy task, but we are proud with it.
“We graduated about 315 students,” says the Arkadelphia-based osteopath. “We’ve been doing a lot of outreach,” not only training doctors, but also giving students “some education about what it takes to be a community leader.”
About 60% of NYITCOM alumni accept residency in Arkansas or neighboring states. “We have 45 of our alumni in residency programs in Arkansas that didn’t even exist before we opened,” Speights said.
Parker, an attorney and computing pioneer who has led the Fort Smith foundation since its inception, said Arkansas hospitals had to learn about creating their own residency programs. ACHE includes the School of Osteopathy, the School of Occupational Therapy, the School of Physical Therapy and the Master’s Program in Biomedical Science.
Parker said many of the state’s medical residency programs were largely limited to public funding until a few years ago.
“Sen. John Bozeman helped introduce a rural training pathway program. She understands that small rural hospitals do not have all the areas of medicine needed to educate residents. So now rural hospitals can create a consortium to work together and form a residency program.”
Of ARCOM’s 2021 graduates, Parker said, 78 of the 150 graduates have secured accommodations nearby. Of the 2022 graduates, 81 out of approximately 150 have held residencies in the region. Last year, Parker said, 6,000 students applied to 150 osteopathic school openings.
“We are very fortunate, and I would say it’s because of our amazing CEO, but that wouldn’t be true. We have excellent programs and a beautiful, growing campus that we started in 2015. The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority awarded us 200 acres to build an orthopedic school and related facilities, and we have We bought more land and we’re still building. The concept is build-work-play, or new urbanism. Everything is walkable.
“We just cut the ribbon for a park we built for the community, and if you draw a circle from the center of the medical school, everything is within a 10-minute walk. There is pizza, Salvadoran food, exercise facilities, coffee shops, a nail salon, etc.”
A new $30 million campus building with retail outlets and student housing is now under construction, not to mention ACHE’s plans for the former Golden Living complex. “There was an explosion of development,” Parker said. He said that all the work was done in service of the mission of the school.
“We never would have started medical school if we didn’t need more documents,” Parker said. Since about 80% of physicians end up practicing in the area in which they attained residency, Arkansas now ranks fifth in the nation in retaining physicians. This is a UAMS course [the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock] And my school of orthopedics.”
Speights has credited the Jonesboro School’s founding dean, Dr. Barbara Ross Lee, as a champion in the growth of residency programs in Arkansas.
“Before the school opened, we had a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield to run seminars to educate hospitals and administrators on how to open up accommodations and how to manage them. … There’s been a lot of work on the hospital side as well, but we have five new family residence programs and eight new residential programmes. for internal medicine opened between 2015 and 2022. Those have 113 new positions annually.”