Arkansas Business’ Lee Hogan reports that an accrediting commission has turned down an application to open a branch of a New York osteopathic college of medicine at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. ASU says it will try again, with hopes to open the branch by 2016.
The article reveals an apparent rift between the Arkansas Osteopathic Medical Association and ASU. The association circulated word of the rejection to its members.
[Jeff] Hankins (an ASU vice president] called the report “misleading and without context regarding the complex accreditation process.”
“Frankly, we are disappointed that the AOMA is attempting to politicize the accreditation process and that the organization never contacted us for clarification on our standing,” Hankins said. “In fact, the AOMA has never provided our partnership’s efforts to advance osteopathic medical education in Arkansas any assistance, refusing at times to answer basic questions regarding procedure or to engage in dialogue with principles guiding the process.”
Frazier Edwards, executive director of AOMA, said the organization’s intent was “to address queries regarding information that concerns the osteopathic profession in Arkansas.”
“The AOMA reported the news given to us and stated the facts accordingly and accurately,” Edwards said in a statement. “The AOMA has made no attempt to discredit NYIT-COM or ASU, and are deeply saddened by [Hankins’] erroneous comments about means for keeping interested parties informed with accurate information.
“Our information can be validated by the national accrediting agency — COCA,” Edwards said. “Members of our organization found it misleading when information regarding COCA’s action to deny NYIT was not effectively communicated to them by NYIT or ASU following the initial decision or their lack of filing an appeal of the decision.”
Edwards also said AOMA was “saddened” by Hankins’ statements “about our association’s lack of support or communication with their project.”
“As Mr. Hankins well knows, for numerous years prior to NYIT’s involvement, the AOMA met with and attempted to aid ASU in their efforts to establish a school of their own,” Edwards said. “Our association has appropriately documented every meeting with their institution and its leaders.”
The association has been working with a separate effort to establish a school of osteopathic medicine in Fort Smith.