Medical School Could Be Coming To Fort Smith

Posted on: 9:30 pm, December 18, 2013, by , updated on: 10:14pm, December 18, 2013

Fort Smith may be the home to a medical school in the next five years. The plans are in the preliminary stages, but supporters say the medical school could have a big impact on the River Valley.

The Fort Smith Regional Healthcare Foundation has announced that an osteopathic medical school could soon be built in Fort Smith.

“It’s a game changer,” said Tom Webb, the foundation’s executive director.

Webb said Fort Smith is a perfect location for the school.

“In western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, they need docs,” he said.

Webb said it could take nearly half a year of brainstorming and assessing costs before anything definitive is decided. However, the facility may be just what the River Valley needs.

“We are probably in one of the most under-served physician parts of the country.”

A medical school in the area could have several focuses, Webb said.

“They do family medicine, they do OBGYN, they do internal medicine, and they actually are on the front line,” he said.

Webb stressed the idea for the school is in the preliminary stage, but if the plan is approved in the near future, it could be up and running by 2016 or 2017.

A feasibility study for the medical school will take at least 4 months.  Officials could make a final decision after that study is completed.