News Release: 9/22/2020

FORT SMITH, Arkansas (September 22, 2020) – The Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) announces the purchase of the Golden Living facility as it continues its quest to advance healthcare education and research in Arkansas and beyond.  The building, to be named the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education Research Institute Health & Wellness Center was purchased last week. 
Kyle D. Parker, JD, Chief Executive Officer of ACHE stated, “We are ecstatic to announce that we will be relocating our ACHE Biological Research Lab to this new location, taking its current space from 7000 square-feet to a massive 120,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art research facility.  This new location will make us the largest research institution of any osteopathic school in the nation.  We will now have the space to focus on other types of research. As such, we are creating the Health & Wellness Center which will focus on holistic health.” 
“The ACHE Board of Trustees voted in full support of the purchase of the facility,” stated John Taylor, Chair of the ACHE Board.  “We see this as another opportunity to further the ACHE mission to educate healthcare professionals; create health and research facilities; and to improve the lives of others.”
The building currently has one and a half floors that are occupied.  “We have engaged Newmark Moses Tucker Partners, the second largest property management company in the state of Arkansas, to manage the property on our behalf.  Newmark Moses Tucker Partners will handle all current and future leases.  We welcome this partnership with such a successful and well-regarded company as Newmark,” said Parker. “We would also like to recognize Golden Living for their most generous donation of all the equipment and furnishings.”
Plans for the new ACHE building include immediate renovations to the entire facility.  The current ACHE Biological Research Lab will move to the new location as soon as the remodel is completed.  Current research space is used by pre-clinical PhDs, and clinical DOs and MDs, and involves wet lab and dry lab research. Serological research has already begun on the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM) campus as ARCOM researchers are actively involved in studies to help find a solution to the antibody questions of COVID-19.
Director of Research, Talal El-Hefnawy, PhD, stated, “While having the current research facility at ACHE certainly provided us a competitive seat among the regional research institutes, particularly among osteopathic medical schools, this recent visionary development by the ACHE leadership proves that ACHE is no longer seeking a competitive edge, but a regional and a national leadership role. This colossal addition to our highly impressive facilities and campus, and the dedication of a significant portion of the future building to serve as research space will be beyond what many of us dreamed. This extraordinary growth was possible because of the right leadership and vision.”    
Thomas Yorio, PhD, has been hired by ACHE as a research consultant to aid in the design of the new research space.  “Dr. Yorio is the Provost Emeritus, a Professor of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, and a member of the North Texas Eye Research Institute at University of North Texas Health Science Center,” stated Brian Kim, JD, President of ACHE. “Dr. Yorio is among the most respected individuals in osteopathic medical education having been involved in it for some 40 years. In order to plan for a first-class research institute, we retained a consultant of international acclaim and renown.”
“Arkansas Colleges of Health Education’s purchase of this new building in Fort Smith will have a major impact on community health, wellness, and medical research innovation,” stated Yorio. “The plans to add state-of-the-art research and clinical facilities within the same complex will allow for the translation of research from the bench to the bedside.  Besides the enormous effect it will have on the well-being of the population of Fort Smith, it will also add a substantial economic impact.  What an exciting time for ACHE and the community.”
Parker elaborated on his plans for more holistic health research.  “The key to me is regarding education as one of the essential components of holistic healthcare.  There is no question that the visual and performing arts help serve as stress reductions.  Our internal research has shown us that the introduction of art plays a significant role in lowering stress levels of our students and therefore, it can do the same for our community. We will continue our partnership with art related entities and emphasize art throughout all of our curriculum.”
Parker plans to promote Elizabeth McClain, PhD, from Vice Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs to Chief Wellness Officer.  “Dr. McClain will change her role to take on the charge of working with churches, school districts, governmental agencies, hospitals, community business leaders, colleges and universities, courts, and 501©(3) agencies,” explained Parker.  “With space constraints a non-issue, we have the opportunity to change the bottom line.  We will have all the tools to work with our community to transform health and wellness.”
McClain expanded on the collaborative vision.  “We are on a journey to transform health and wellness education using a community engaged holistic approach. This approach is guided by 8 domains of wellness including, emotional, environmental, social, occupational, financial, spiritual, intellectual, and physical. This approach is integrated with evidenced based models that address the social determinants of health, access to care, the physical environment, health behaviors,” said McClain.  “Positive change always begins with an idea that transforms actions. I have been so impressed with the community’s drive to improve the wellbeing of our residents. I look forward to the impact we can as we work together.  Our first step will identify the key players in order to guide our holistic wellness programming.”
Included in the purchase are 63 prime acres of land.  “We are pleased that the property is zoned for C-3 which allows for mixed use.  We anticipate creating facilities that will support the ACHE Research Institute Health & Wellness Center,” said Parker.  “I intend to work with the City of Fort Smith to bring the trails system to the doorsteps of this facility, as well as take advantage of the mountain bike trails that are already located on this property.”
Carl Geffken, City Administrator, commented, “The City of Fort Smith is excited by the expansion of ACHE. This will be a world-class research institute and will lead the way in transforming the concepts of health and wellness – right here in our city.  ACHE’s mission and Kyle Parker’s strategic vision and leadership have proven that Fort Smith is one of the best locations in the country for cutting edge work.  We support ACHE’s growth and congratulate them on their continued success!”
Mayor of Fort Smith, George McGill said of the transaction, “I am continually impressed at the next-level innovation taking place at ACHE.  Their latest game-changing effort will place our community at the forefront of health, wellness, and medical research.  You have my vow as your Mayor that I will do everything I can to support, encourage, and promote this incredibly beneficial development.  This new project is unquestionably, a quantum leap forward for Fort Smith.”
Parker concluded, “We have reached the tipping point in the United States in doctor shortage.  If we can begin to teach children at a young age how to eat right, exercise, and to have a healthy lifestyle, we can change the culture and help to reduce many health issues like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.  We are attacking the healthcare issue on both ends – providing doctors and providing resources that afford the ability to change lives in our community, state, and nation.”
Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) is a private, non-profit institution located on 430 acres in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  ACHE’s first college, the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM) is set to graduate its inaugural class of 150 osteopathic medical students in May 2021.  ACHE opened its second building, a 66,000 square foot facility that will be the home to developing programs:  the School of Physical Therapy, the School of Occupational Therapy, and Physician Assistant Studies. ACHE is the first and only private institution in Arkansas that is dedicated solely to healthcare and wellness. For more information about the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education and our programs, visit