Shane Speights, D.O., dean, at the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State (NYITCOM at A-State), announced Thursday (Nov. 1) the formation of a new fellowship program in coordination with NYITCOM at A-State and the office of U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro.
“We are excited to partner with Congressman Crawford’s office on this exciting endeavor,” Speights said. “This fellowship represents another step forward in bringing quality healthcare to those who need it in this region by impacting policy and ensuring federal funds are making the impact they were intended to. This is an amazing opportunity for our medical students to be on the front lines of health policy and learn firsthand how to best advocate for patients.”
The program will be called the First District Congressional (FDC) fellowship program. Each year, a third-year medical student at NYITCOM at A-State will apply and be selected to enter into a longitudinal program that runs concurrently with their medical school curriculum. The program will begin in January of their third year and conclude in March of the following year.
During the first 12 months of the program, the student will identify an area of research and work with the First District local Congressional office in Arkansas to obtain data and perform on-site visits for a granular look into the different funding streams provided by the multiple federal agencies that grant funding to the Mississippi Delta Region. The goal of the study is to better the health outcomes of those communities. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) are a few of the agencies that are dedicated to improving health care outcomes in the Delta region through federal funding.
At the conclusion of the fellowship program, in January/February of the student’s fourth year, the student will spend time in Washington D.C. and work with the Congressman’s office to craft potential legislation, analyze policy proposals and leverage the resources of the office to help ensure that federal funding is targeting needed areas, being disbursed to successful programs and preventing duplication.
“I am excited about this next chapter for the College of Osteopathic Medicine and A-State,” Crawford said. “The challenges in rural America, especially in places like the Delta and across the First District, are significant and require an out-of-the-box approach to improving care and outcomes for rural populations. I am excited for these students to spend time in my Arkansas and Washington offices, working alongside our staff with the common goal to better serve the people of the First District and everyone across Rural America through this collaboration and insight with the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine.”