Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine adds faculty, staff to prep for 2017 opening

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 605 views 

With approval received earlier this year to recruit students, officials with the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Smith are hiring faculty and staff to prep for the first class arrival in the fall of 2017.

The American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation approved in April the college for student recruitment.

Work began in February 2015 on the $32.4 million facility located in the Chaffee Crossing area. The school will be housed in a three story, 102,000-square-foot building, and a fully operational osteopathic college is expected to serve about 600 students. Each class will have 150 students. Initial planning estimated that the new college would employ around 92 (full-time equivalent jobs) with an average salary of $116,000 – not including adjunct professors and other part-time support.

College officials plan a community open house on Aug. 21.

Funding for the college and associated development comes from The Degen Foundation, a Fort Smith-based philanthropy created with some of the revenue from the 2009 sale of Sparks Health System to then Naples, Fla.-based Health Management Associates. As of July 2013, the Degen Foundation held $60.673 million. The college also has received a $14 million anonymous donation and has access to a $25 million low-interest loan.

Kyle Parker, president and CEO of the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education, which is the parent organization of the osteopathic college, said most faculty will be on board by early 2017, with other faculty positions filled as the the college adds classes.

“We are right on schedule with our hiring of academic administrators and faculty. The majority of additional faculty will be starting January 2017 to prepare for the fall 2017 class. Some members of the faculty will not be needed until the second year of study and will be hired in late 2017 and early 2018,” Parker told Talk Business & Politics.

Recently hired are Brooke Holland, executive assistant to the dean and chief administrative officer; Mandy Keyes, director of admissions/registrar; Jackie Krutsch, director of development; and Levi Risley, director of campus security.

Holland earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology at Arkansas Tech University and has more than 15 years clerical and administrative experience. She previously worked as the executive assistant/human resource director for the city of Greenwood.

Keyes earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, and was previously with UAFS as the associate registrar/off-site concurrent enrollment coordinator. She has more than 15 years of higher education enrollment management experience. She is pursuing a master’s degree in college student personnel at Arkansas Tech University.

Jackie Krutsch earned bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Arkansas. She most recently worked as executive director of the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce. Her work also includes director of the Leadership Fort Smith program. Krutsch has served in numerous community and professional organizations including the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District Board of Directors, the Van Buren Education Foundation and the Fort Smith Regional Alliance. She also serves on the St. Edward Mercy Medical Center Advisory Board.

Risley most recently worked as police chief of the Vian Police Department. He earned an associates degree from Westark Community College, a bachelor’s degree from Excelsior College and a master’s degree from Webster University. He is a retired member of the United States Air Force, and a member of the Fraternal Order of Police.

The new faculty hires are Dr. Lance Bridges, associate professor of biochemistry, molecular and cell sciences; Dr. Marti Echols, professor and associate dean of academic affairs; Dr. Swapan Nath, professor and chair of microbiology/immunology; and Dr. Stuart Willams, associate professor and chair of osteopathic principles.

Bridges, a graduate of Greenwood High School, was with The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., as an assistant professor, department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry (summa cum laude) from John Brown University and his doctorate of philosophy from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Echols was with the Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine where she was assistant dean and chair of medical education in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Cleveland State University, a master’s degree in education From Ashland University and a doctorate from Ohio University. She serves on the national committee for the Association of Behavioral Science and Medical Educators and was a past chair. Echols was the Employee of the Year, Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2003, and recently won the AACOM Research Poster of the Year for her work in hippotherapy and autistic adolescents.

Nath was previously the professor of microbiology at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, Pa. He earned his doctorate at the University of Toronto, (Canada), and is a Fellow, National Academy of Osteopathic Medical Educators, a Fellow, Canadian College of Microbiologists; and a National Faculty, National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners.

Williams received his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and a doctorate of osteopathic medicine from Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth. He is certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, the American Board of Osteopathic Family Physicians and the National Board of Examiners for Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons. He recently was associate professor of osteopathic manipulative medicine at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Lynchburg, Va.

The new staff and faculty join the following who have been with the college.
• Rebecca Ameis, executive assistant to the president and CEO
• Eric Burns, director of buildings and grounds
• Michael Chancey, infrastructure engineer
• Susan Devero, director of community relations
• Dr. Keith Fudge, professor and associate dean of student affairs
• Jonathan Hataway, director of information and technology
• Barbara Jetton, director of human resources
• Dianna Jordan, procurement manager