The University of Iowa’s medical presence in Iowa City is huge (I remember reading 30 years ago in a story about a Hawkeye athlete who had a medical problem that Iowa City was basically one giant hospital even then). In the past year they have built a new children’s hospital that overlooks Kinnick Stadium, and the top floor is an observation point where the kids can watch the game. But even before that, there was a strong connection between the Iowa program and sick kids. Now, with the new hospital in place, there is a social media movement for fans inside the stadium to turn and wave to the kids in the hospital after the first quarter, and it happened yesterday during the Penn State game.
(Completely unrelated side comment: I think eventually UA will have a second medical school in NWA. There is a UAMS presence now for clinical rotations, etc., but I think they’ll go with the second school as the NWA area and the state in general continue to grow along with the need for more doctors).
These are great stories. I do know that they are building a deck for the new Children’s Hospital in Springdale for the kids to watch the fireworks at nearby Arvest Park, the baseball park for the Naturals. Cool idea.
I wonder if building another allopathic medical school in Arkansas is warranted since the two osteopathic medical schools have opened in Jonesboro and Fort Smith. Perhaps a distinction could be drawn on the two osteopathic schools being private schools and not required to have an admission preference for Arkansas residents.
I’m aware of the two osteopathic schools; one of them is about 7 miles from my house. But Arkansas is 46th out of 50 states in the number of physicians per capita, 47th in active patient care docs (those who actually take care of people), and not much better in the number of primary care (family) docs per capita. We would have to make significant improvement just to get up to the national averages, which is 251 docs per 100,000 residents and 83 primary care docs per 100,000. We’re at 198 and 77 respectively. In other words, we have enough people to absorb a lot more docs of either description. Iowa also has only one MD school, but as noted above it’s huge; almost 500 more students than UAMS.
Sports angle: More practicing docs who graduated from UAMS or UAMS-Northwest would mean more people in the state with the means to make donations and buy tickets to the Razorback programs. And from the DO schools as well, those who stick around here to work (and where they do their residency is a big factor, which is why a teaching hospital in NWA would help a lot).
The state also has a deficiency in dental care providers. I would like to see the state get a dental shool, preferably UAMS and be public to keep the tuition reasonable. We rank among the worst in dentists per capita, not sure what the numbers are currently but used to be around 1 dentist per 2200 people. With an obvious deficiency in rural areas.
The number of dental specialists is also something that needs to be increased in the state. I know that UAMS is currently doing a GPR for dental school graduates who feel like they need a little more training before entering on their own, I would like to see them expand that to other types of residencies. They already have the Dental Hygiene program, which is a nice start, but really need to get the instate school.
I personally know it’s not easy to move away from home to go to school, and would’ve loved to have gone to school in Little Rock or NWA. But, on the other hand many decide to stay, and so the limited spots we have in out of state schools aren’t 100% returning.
I figure it is for sure in the future, hopefully if my kids decide to follow my path they will be able to stay home.
I think we need a dental school. And probably an optometry school, although if somebody opened a private one that would fill the bill. Veterinary too. A good friend who grew up in Arkansas and moved to Atlanta had a daughter who considered UA but ultimately didn’t come here because we don’t have a vet school; she went to UGa instead. She’s in vet school now, but not at Georgia; she went to Auburn instead.
Great discussion. These are ideas that the brain trust
group that help shape the future of Arkansas should be
giving serious consideration. These would have long-lasting and very positive socio-economic implications.
These are steps that would help empower the people of
the state while helping to retain and gain additional men
and women that will be highly educated and high earners.