15 local med students among many to get white coat at NYITCOM ceremony

Dr. Shane Speights speaks about NYIT at AState. Photo courtesy AState

JONESBORO, AR – Nine students from Craighead County and two Greene County natives were among the 120 first-year medical students who received their white coats from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine-Arkansas last week. The white coat ceremony is a rite of passage signifying the official start of medical school, and the NYITCOM-Arkansas Class of 2023 celebrated its ceremony last Friday at the Arkansas State University Fowler Center.  

In addition, 13 of the 120 members of NYITCOM’s Class of 2023 received their undergraduate degrees from Arkansas State University.

Tiffany Vaughn (Brookland, A-State), Zachary Preston (Bono, A-State), El-Noor Akhter (Jonesboro, UALR), Cody Anderson (Jonesboro, A-State), Maxwell Bacot (Jonesboro, A-State), Olivia Loiacano (Jonesboro, A-State), Katie McCoy (Jonesboro, A-State), Logan Meurer (Lake City, A-State) and Jessica Saito (Jonesboro, A-State) are among the Craighead County natives who recently began medical school at NYITCOM. Paragould natives Jill Taylor (A-State) and Dimple Shah (Hendrix College) are also members of the class. 

Joshua Gray (Benton), Natalie Turner (Forrest City), Hannah Kling (Monticello) and Caroline Kelley (Walnut Ridge) are NYITCOM Class of 2023 members who previously studied at Arkansas State. 

NYITCOM, which is located on the Arkansas State University campus, is the first osteopathic medical school in the state and was established in 2016 with the goal of addressing the significant physician shortage in Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta. Additionally, Arkansas ranks near the bottom among U.S. states in health outcomes such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity, and NYITCOM operates educational programs to help people throughout the region understand how to live healthier lives.  

“In a time like no other, the need for talented physicians is great, especially in this region of the nation,” said Shane Speights, D.O., Dean of NYITCOM-Arkansas. “It is for that reason that NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine has stepped forward to address that need. We’re proud to welcome the next group of talented future physicians.”

The Class of 2023 is NYITCOM-Arkansas’ fourth, which puts the medical school at full enrollment for the first time. The COM is scheduled to graduate its first class of approximately 115 medical students in May of 2020.

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