Bentonville medical school beginning to staff up

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 3,427 views 

Pictured from left: Jasmin Bland, Kevin Kunkler, Lisako McKyer and Yerko Berrocal.

Officials with the nonprofit Alice L. Walton School of Medicine in Bentonville announced several academic and medical hires Thursday (Aug. 18), ranging from faculty affairs, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), foundational sciences, educational technology and curriculum management.

The appointments include Lisako McKyer, vice dean of faculty affairs and DEI; Yerko Berrocal, assistant dean of foundational sciences; Kevin Kunkler, senior director of educational technology and Jasmin Bland, director of curriculum management.

The four-year college will be built on approximately 20 acres east of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art along Northeast J Street, north of First Presbyterian Church.

Construction of the 154,000-square-foot building will begin in the spring of 2023. The college hopes to welcome its first class in the fall of 2025, pending accreditation.

According to a news release, McKyer oversees appointments and promotions for faculty and other instruction-related positions. She also ensures the school meets DEI recruitment and retention goals and leads initiatives that advance the institution and its faculty.

McKyer previously was the inaugural Senior Associate Dean of Climate and Diversity at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, part of Texas A&M Health, where she was on the school’s executive leadership team.

McKyer was the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in Health Behavior from Indiana University School of Public Health, was named one of “1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America” by Cell Mentor, and first Black president of the American Academy of Health Behavior, where she also holds Fellow status.

A native of Chile, Berrocal oversees operations and ensures the integration of foundational science education into students’ clinical settings. She was previously a clinical associate professor in the Department of Health Sciences Education at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria (UICOMP).

Kunkler leads the college’s educational simulation and standardized patient programs, supports the use of educational technologies within the curriculum, and ensures the school meets educational technology requirements. He will also be a professor.

Kunkler was previously a professor and executive director of simulation education, innovation and research at Texas Christian University School of Medicine.

Bland will coordinate the school’s academic experience for students. She was previously the curriculum manager at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, where she worked for 20 years.

The Alice L. Walton School of Medicine is a standalone sister organization of Bentonville nonprofit Whole Health Institute, created in 2020 by Walmart Inc. heiress and philanthropist Alice Walton to make a transformative approach to health and well-being available to everyone.

Thursday’s news release said a national search for the Dean of the School of Medicine is currently underway. A list of open positions is available at this link.