New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (A-State) has received a grant from the Delta Regional Authority to support the establishment of the first Delta community-based clinical education consortium with medical and health institutions. The grant, in the amount of $200,000, was announced by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on Nov. 28, one of 15 workforce, infrastructure, and economic development grants awarded.
The Consortium for Medical Education in the Delta (C-MED) is being established to provide clinical education for third- and fourth-year medical students from NYITCOM at A-State and to initiate a Graduate Medical Education application process through the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to help establish medical residencies in community hospitals in the rural Delta region. ACGME is the national accreditation standard that must be met to establish a Residency program.
NYITCOM at A-State was established to produce physicians, with an emphasis on primary care physicians, who will stay and practice in the underserved and physician shortage areas of Arkansas and the Delta. It enrolled its inaugural class of 115 medical students in August 2016; it is only the second medical school in Arkansas and the first new medical school to open in the state in 137 years.
"An organized medical education delivery system currently does not exist in the medically underserved communities of the Delta but one is profoundly needed to produce new physicians to live and practice in these areas," said Barbara Ross-Lee, D.O., NYIT vice president for health sciences and medical affairs and founding dean of the new NYITCOM location. Ross-Lee noted that rural regions like the Delta have higher rates of premature death, disability, and chronic disease due to the lack of access to and availability of medical care. Furthermore, the nationwide shortage of physicians, especially primary care physicians, has a greater impact in places like the Delta due to population size and limited recruitment capacity. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has deemed 230 of the 252 counties and parishes in the Delta to be Health Professional Shortage Areas.
NYITCOM at A-State has the expertise required to implement this C-MED project. NYITCOM in Old Westbury, N.Y., initiated the same type of project 21 years ago, namely, the New York Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Education Consortium (NYCOMEC). NYCOMEC has grown into 1,329 new residency positions in 106 new programs and produces over 200 resident graduates annually. "NYITCOM at A-State will utilize the same strategy that developed the highly successful NYCOMEC to grow C-MED," Ross-Lee added.
The grant money received for C-MED will be used to hire staff to work with identified hospitals and clinics and to guide them through the accreditation processes required to allow them to begin undergraduate and graduate medical education programs. Four underserved and economically distressed communities in Arkansas and one in Missouri have been identified as potential clinical education and residency sites.
NYITCOM at A-State projects that at least 30 residents will be trained through C-MED annually. This program also will create three new medical education positions per ACGME accredited hospital; five hospitals to be identified will participate in the Consortium. Additionally, this program will create approximately 30 new residency slots and produce 10 new primary care physicians in the region annually.