NYIT will expand its College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) program to a second site—the Jonesboro campus of Arkansas State University (A-State)—in a move designed to address the state’s acute healthcare challenges and shortage of primary care physicians.
Following its April 18th meeting, the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) awarded initial approval for the additional location, which ultimately will allow for 115 new medical students each year in Arkansas.
“Having met all the initial criteria and receiving the accrediting body’s go-ahead, we will now focus on the steady march toward welcoming medical students in Jonesboro,” said NYIT President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D. “We will immediately turn attention to carefully hiring and developing faculty and staff in Jonesboro, and work with our fine colleagues at Arkansas State University in preparing the facility at the center of their campus to house the educational program.”
“It is an extraordinary win-win-win situation,” he added, “for the residents of the region who will enjoy improved health services as well as business development, for the state of Arkansas, and for the two universities.”
Arkansas has a vital need for more physicians, especially primary care physicians, in all state regions. It ranks 49 out of 50 states in its population’s health status and 48 out of 50 states in the percentage of active physicians per 100,000 people, according to several national studies. Currently, there is only one medical school in Arkansas.
Distinguished medical professional, public policy leader, and two-time medical school dean Barbara Ross-Lee, D.O., will relocate full-time to Jonesboro to lead NYITCOM’s efforts as the site’s dean.
“There is a lot to do,” said Ross-Lee. “We anticipate significant facility renovation to begin this June. Our current plan is to open in August 2016. When we are in a position to accept applicants, we will make an announcement. We’re very excited.”
"This is an extraordinary development for the future of not only our institutions, but more importantly for the citizens of Arkansas and the Delta,” said A-State Chancellor Tim Hudson, Ph.D. “We're grateful to NYIT for seeking to expand its proven, highly-regarded osteopathic curriculum for the benefit of students in this region. Their experience in medical education and our experience in meeting needs of Arkansas and the Delta will lead to positive, transformative results."
NYITCOM, established in 1977 in Old Westbury, N.Y., has a current total four-year enrollment of nearly 1,200 students.
“This expansion of our successful medical school is designed to educate students who will go on to practice in this underserved state,” said Ross-Lee, noting that most physicians practice in the states where they are trained. “With this new site, NYITCOM will provide a continuum of education as part of our mission to enhance the delivery of care in this area.”