Arkansas Colleges of Health Education taps Dr. Ray Stowers as provost

by Aric Mitchell ([email protected]) 681 views 

The Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) has hired Dr. Ray Stowers as provost. His responsibilities will include “the creation and implementation of the academic priorities for all colleges in the ACHE organization,” noted a Tuesday (Oct. 4) ACHE press release.

Prior to joining ACHE, Stowers was Founding Dean of Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) in Harrogate, Tenn. Other previous positions include Associate Dean for Rural Health at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

A longstanding member of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), Stowers has served on the Board of Trustees since 2000 and is a past President of the AOA. He is a past president of the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, which also honored him with the A.T. Still Award of Excellence in 2008. Stowers was named Family Physician of the Year by the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. In 2011, Tennessee Osteopathic Medical Association (TOMA) named him for the Paul Grayson Smith, Sr., Physician of the Year Award, and he has received multiple awards from LMU including the naming of an auditorium in his honor.

“We are extremely proud to announce that Ray has joined our team,” Kyle Parker, president and CEO of ACHE, noted in the statement. “As we have achieved provisional accreditation and are moving forward with the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM), Ray will be an integral part in establishing future colleges and in creating and maintaining relationships with existing institutions in Arkansas and Oklahoma.”

Dr. Ray Stowers
Dr. Ray Stowers

Mercy Clinic-Fort Smith is one of those institutions. The clinic broke ground on a planned 13,500 square-foot, $7.9 million facility next door to ARCOM in August. It will feature 28 exam rooms, X-ray, triage, and laboratory and conference space to accommodate training requirements of the medical school’s residency program.

Stowers is part of a growing list of staff and faculty hired by ACHE in recent months. Former Fort Smith Public School Superintendent Dr. Benny Gooden was in early July named executive director of institutional relations for the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education.

In early June, new faculty hires included 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.

The new faculty hires were 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.

The Fort Smith-based ARCOM will welcome its inaugural class of 150 students to the $32.4 million facility in August 2017. Work began on the college, located in the Chaffee Crossing area, in February 2015. The initial building is three stories and 102,000 square feet and will serve about 600 students at full capacity. Initial planning estimated the 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.

Funding for the college and associated development comes from The Degen Foundation, a Fort Smith-based philanthropy group 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 has also received a $14 million anonymous donation.

Since its announcement in 2014, ACHE has received $106.9 million in funds.