Memphis-based Baptist Memorial Health Care has formed a partnership with New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University (NYITCOM at A-State), located in Jonesboro, to train future doctors, according to the school.
The agreement identifies up to 25 NYITCOM medical student positions that will be dedicated specifically to students who want to train at Baptist Memorial Health Care facilities during medical school. In subsequent years, the program can increase up to 50 students, per the agreement. Students selected to participate in the program will have some designated opportunities through the Baptist Memorial Health Care system during their first and second year, and participants will execute their year three and year four clerkships at one of Baptist’s 22 hospitals.
Upon completion of their medical education, students will be encouraged to apply to one of Baptist Memorial Health Care’s affiliated residency programs. Baptist currently hosts residents and fellows in family medicine, internal medicine, radiology, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, pathology and pulmonary medicine.
“We are so excited to launch this partnership because it will bring tremendous benefit to students, families and communities throughout the Mid-South,” Jason Little, president and CEO of Baptist Memorial Health Care said. “There is a significant shortage of physicians, particularly primary care, in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. This shortage poses a grave health risk, particularly to people in under-served rural and urban communities. We believe this Baptist-NYITCOM program will help alleviate this shortage by giving more of our best and brightest students the opportunity to study and practice medicine in their home communities.”
Established in 1977, NYITCOM is one of the largest osteopathic medical schools in the United States, with more than 7,500 graduates practicing in all 50 states and 18 countries. Housed in the 86,000 square-foot Wilson Hall, NYITCOM at A-State facilities include laboratories and classrooms outfitted with technology for in-person and two-way live streaming of lectures between the Arkansas and New York campuses.
“When we welcomed our first class in August 2016, NYITCOM at A-State began its mission to improve access to health care for the medically underserved and rural populations,” Jerry Balentine, D.O., dean, NYITCOM and vice president, Health Sciences and Medical Affairs said. “With this partnership, we are proud to continue that mission, and expand opportunities for our students as they prepare to practice in the underserved areas of the Mississippi Delta region.”
Baptist Memorial Health Care has added and expanded a number of its graduate medical education programs recently. Within the past three years, Baptist has started new primary care residency programs at three of its hospitals—Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, in conjunction with Church Health; Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle in Columbus, Mississippi; and NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro. These programs offer area students an opportunity to complete their graduate medical education training with physician educators from Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.
The Baptist College of Health Sciences, which began educating nurses in 1912, has also grown. The College now offers a variety of health sciences programs to prepare students for health care careers, including a biomedical sciences degree for students who want to become physicians. Baptist College collaborates with NYITCOM to provide pathways for students who want to apply to medical school.
“This partnership aligns perfectly with our goal to train future physicians who are more likely to stay and practice in the Mid-South area,” Shane Speights, D.O., dean, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at ASU said. “The opportunity to study within the Mid-South’s largest health care organization, with a variety of locations in both rural and urban areas, will be extremely valuable for our future doctors.”