Henderson State, NYITCOM at A-State announce Pre-Med Pathway

Henderson State Chancellor Dr. Trey Berry, from left, NYITCOM at A-State Dean Shane Speights, and Henderson Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Talisha Givan.

Arkansas students now have a unique pathway to medical school thanks to a new agreement between Henderson State University and New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University (NYITCOM at A-State) in Jonesboro.

The Henderson-NYITCOM Pre-Med Pathway, which was jointly announced by the two institutions Wednesday, will allow Henderson State students majoring in natural sciences (pre-med track) to gain acceptance to medical school at NYITCOM at A-State without taking the MCAT, provided they meet specific academic and program requirements.

“There are many obstacles that exist for students who want to attend medical school, and those obstacles can be especially significant for those coming from rural or underserved backgrounds,” said Shane Speights, D.O., dean of NYITCOM at A-State. “This unique Pre-Med Pathway provides a clear and well-defined track for students who know they want to go to medical school. This is a huge win for not only our two institutions, but also for aspiring doctors throughout Arkansas, and most importantly the communities they will serve once they become physicians.”

The Henderson-NYITCOM Pre-Med Pathway begins with freshmen enrolled at Henderson for Fall 2024. New application cycles will open in subsequent fall semesters for incoming freshmen. Classes for the bachelor’s degree in natural sciences (pre-med track) will be taught in-person by Henderson and NYITCOM professors on the Henderson campus in Arkadelphia.

Applicants must reside in the state of Arkansas, have a combined SAT score of at least 1100 or ACT composite score of at least 26, have a high school grade point average in the top 10% of the applicant’s high school class, and successfully interview with the admissions committee for the Henderson-NYITCOM Pre-Med Pathway during the spring semester of their freshman year at Henderson and with the medical school admissions committee during their junior year.

“Henderson State is thrilled to provide a direct path to medical school for future Reddies,” Dr. Trey Berry, Henderson chancellor, said. “No other institution in the state currently provides this opportunity, and we are grateful to NYITCOM at A-State for partnering with us to expand student access to medical school admission in Arkansas.”

For program requirements and application information, please visit https://go.hsu.edu/pre-med.

Interested high school students and Fall 2024 college freshmen can request information at hsu.edu/premed-interest.

Addressing Healthcare Needs in Arkansas

NYITCOM at A-State graduated its first class in 2020, and members of its first two classes are now completing their residency training and signing contracts to practice medicine. Among those classes, 80% of NYITCOM at A-State graduates who are from Arkansas have signed to practice in the Natural State.

According to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), Arkansas ranks 46th in physicians per capita. Pipeline programs like the one created by NYITCOM and Henderson are crucial to addressing that physician shortage.

“We primarily struggle with having physicians practice in largely rural areas,” Speights said. “Research indicates if we can recruit students from those areas of need and train them here, they have a high likelihood of practicing in those needed areas. It’s a train and retain concept. Since Henderson State historically matriculates students from the geographic areas from which we also want students, this program will give us a pipeline of medical students who are committed to serving Arkansas in the long term. We are planting the seeds of generational change.”

According to Speights, the opportunity for Pre-Med Pathway participants to waive the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is based on historical data regarding medical student outcomes, and the ability for Henderson and NYITCOM to tailor the program to the students’ specific needs.

“Data on the MCAT shows that it can be predictive of how a student will perform during their first year of medical school, but its predictability of success beyond that point drops off,” Speights said. “Our own experience has shown that an academically well-prepared student with the determination and heart for helping others can provide a better gauge of success in medical school and residency. We’ve designed a specific pre-med track that will give these future physicians an undergraduate curriculum that will uniquely position them for success once they get to medical school.”

About the Partnership

NYITCOM at A-State opened in 2016 through a private/public partnership between Arkansas State University and New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York. NYITCOM at A-State operates in Wilson Hall on A-State’s Jonesboro campus and was created with a pointed focus of training physicians to address the growing shortage in Arkansas and the region. NYITCOM’s Jonesboro location is accredited for 115 medical students per year.

Henderson State University joined the Arkansas State University System in 2021, and because of NYITCOM’s partnership with A-State, NYITCOM and Henderson State soon thereafter began exploring collaboration opportunities.

Last summer, NYITCOM hosted a session of Project H.E.A.R.T., the med school’s medically-themed summer camp, in Arkadelphia to make the program more accessible for high school students in Southwest Arkansas and to invite prospective Henderson State students to the university’s campus. NYITCOM will again host the camp at both Henderson and A-State this summer.

Additionally, NYITCOM is delivering population health courses to undergraduate students on the Henderson campus.

“It’s imperative that we continue to grow our reach throughout the state so we can make the impact we’re aiming for, and Henderson State provides outstanding avenues to do just that in Southwest Arkansas,” said Speights, who earned his undergraduate degree at Henderson State before attending medical school at Kansas City University. “We’re incredibly excited about this latest venture with a tremendous partner in Henderson.”


Tina V. Hall, Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications, Henderson State University, hallt@hsu.edu, 870-230-5348

Casey Pearce, Director of External Relations, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University, cpearce@nyit.edu, 870-972-2656