Newswise — Jonesboro, AR, May 21, 2018 – New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University (NYITCOM at A-State) has received a total award of $828,748 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a mobile medical clinic aimed at delivering health care to underserved and rural populations in Arkansas and the Delta region.
Health care outcomes in the Mississippi Delta region are among the worst in the nation, creating a high demand for clinically trained rural physicians and health professionals. In an effort to break down barriers to health care, NYITCOM at A-State, in collaboration with Arkansas State University (A-State) College of Nursing and Health Professions, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Northeast Family Medicine Residency Program, and St. Bernards Medical Center Internal Medicine Residency Program, will develop a mobile medical clinic, known as the “Delta Care-a-van.”
This mobile clinic will initially travel to the heart of seven northeast Arkansas rural communities to deliver preventative care services and health education without cost or need for an appointment. Funded by the USDA Delta Healthcare Service Grant, with $828,748 awarded in federal shares and $228,604 provided in kind, this service will expand care to patients who might otherwise be unable to see a physician. Patients visiting the mobile clinic will receive health education and screenings for untreated chronic conditions including obesity, diabetes, and anxiety/depression, as well as referrals to regional physicians for follow-up care.
“The Delta Care-a-van program will allow us to remove several of the obstacles to health care that have prevented local residents from receiving the health services and education they deserve and need,” said Shane Speights, D.O., native Arkansan and site dean, NYITCOM at A-State. “At the same time, this service will provide valuable clinical training to an ‘army’ of future physicians and health care professionals, and will also expose them to the joys, opportunities, and challenges of rural practice.”
“Our college is excited to be involved in this interprofessional education and service delivery project that will impact many of the smaller towns in our region. The health of our communities is so important to our economic future,” said Dr. Susan Hanrahan, Ph.D., dean, Arkansas State University College of Nursing and Health Professions. “I think we can make a difference.”
Equipped with two examination rooms and state-of-the-art telemedicine technology (telecommunication and information technology that enables clinical health care from a distance), the mobile clinic will offer a training program for medical students from NYITCOM at A-State, resident physicians from UAMS and St. Bernards Medical Center, and Arkansas State University nursing and social work students. Under the guidance of NYITCOM at A-State faculty and trained medical experts, these students will conduct screenings and wellness examinations to monitor blood pressure, blood glucose, and signs of mental health conditions. Patients requiring additional treatment will be connected to local providers or receive telemedicine consultation while on board the mobile clinic, building upon NYITCOM at A-State’s legacy of being among the first U.S. medical schools to train first-year medical students to deliver care via telemedicine.
“UAMS Northeast Family Medicine Residency is very excited to be a part of this innovative project that will help bring vital preventative care services to Arkansans who live in the Delta,” said Scott Dickson, M.D., assistant professor and director, UAMS Northeast Family Medicine Residency Program.
“At St. Bernards, we began the Internal Medicine residency program to meet a very important need in this area - to equip clinically trained physicians to provide care to the patients who need it the most," said Chris Barber, president and CEO of St. Bernards Healthcare. "We are happy to partner with NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine, Arkansas State University and UAMS on this Delta Care-a-van program so our Internal Medicine residents can continue the St. Bernards mission of providing Christ-like healing.”
The mobile clinic is expected to begin visiting the Arkansas cities of Harrisburg, Leachville, Lepanto, Manila, Piggott, Walnut Ridge, and Marked Tree in late summer 2018, with plans to expand services to other areas of the Delta region. The Delta Care-a-van will see patients in the seven communities, conducting an expected 78 mobile clinic encounters over the course of approximately 18 months, and will offer evening hour services.
From these visits, NYITCOM at A-State will collect data regarding diabetes, obesity, immunization and vaccination, prenatal care, mental health, and other health topics to measure performance levels and determine strategies for improving patient outcomes.
For more information about NYITCOM at A-State, visit https://www.nyit.edu/arkansas.
About NYITCOM at A-State
New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University (NYITCOM at A-State) is located in Jonesboro, AR, on the campus of Arkansas State University. Medical degrees are conferred by NYIT, a private, non-profit institution of higher education that established its medical school (NYITCOM) program in Jonesboro to meet the need for more physicians in this medically underserved area. Upon welcoming its inaugural class of 115 medical students in August 2016, NYITCOM at A-State began delivering on its mission to improve access to health care for the underserved and rural populations in the Mississippi Delta Region.
Arkansas State University
Focusing on its mission to educate leaders, enhance intellectual growth and enrich lives, Arkansas State University is the catalyst for progress in the Mid-South. Founded in 1909, A-State meets the challenges of continuing as a destination university for more than 14,000 students through the combination of world-class research with a long tradition of student-friendly instruction. The second largest university in Arkansas, Arkansas State is a doctoral-level national institution with more than 150 degree areas of study, including a robust online program, and a diverse student body from across the nation and the world.
St. Bernards Healthcare
St. Bernards Healthcare, a non-profit healthcare system based in Northeast Arkansas, serves as the corporate parent of a number of healthcare entities, including the largest hospital in the region, St. Bernards Medical Center, a 438-bed acute care hospital that serves as a regional referral center for 23 counties in Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri. It is the only Level III Trauma Center in the region, houses the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the eastern part of Arkansas and has served as the trusted provider of comprehensive, compassionate healthcare services for 117 years. For more information, please visit stbernards.info or call the St. Bernards Healthline at 870.207.7300.
UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; northwest Arkansas regional campus; statewide network of regional centers including UAMS Northeast in Jonesboro; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Myeloma Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,834 students, 822 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses throughout the state, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com.
Kim Tucker, PR Strategist, NYIT