Arkansas College Planning For Future Vet School; Partners With Group To Reduce Graduate Debt by Edited Press Release|04.21.2022|3:33pm Lyon College announced it has begun developing plans for a proposed veterinary school located in Little Rock, Ark. The school will be part of the new Lyon College Institute of Health Sciences. The College's faculty assembly and Board of Trustees approved the proposal in March, and the proposals for academic changes were submitted to the College's regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), on Tuesday, March 15. Following consideration by HLC, the College will submit the prepared accreditation applications with both the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Education (COE) and the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Pending the accreditors' approval, inaugural classes could start as early as 2024 or 2025. Lyon has identified several potential locations in Little Rock and should finalize the location for the campus soon. To ensure the success of the schools' openings, Lyon College has entered into a strategic collaboration with OneHealth Education Group (OneHealth). OneHealth utilizes private sector capital and consultant solutions to support the launch of professional health science programs. The group aims to reduce the debt burden of graduating professionals and to provide solutions for communities that lack ample access to healthcare. “We are excited to convene Lyon College … veterinary leaders, and other funders together to create this opportunity,” said Frazier Edwards, president of OneHealth. With only 14.3 veterinarians per 100,000 individuals, Arkansas ranks 49th in the country for its veterinarian-population ratio, and agriculture makes up nearly 15 percent of Arkansas's economy, with poultry, cattle, and equines accounting for the largest share of that. Demand is expected to increase sharply. A recent study predicts Americans will increase their spending on pet healthcare by 33 percent in the next decade, while the number of new veterinarians entering the profession each year increases by just 2.7 percent annually, falling short of the need for 40,000 new veterinarians in the United States by 2030. In an announcement to the Lyon College campus community, President Melissa Taverner said, “Lyon has a 150-year history of providing exceptional and relevant education to Arkansans and students of the region… These plans are part of a comprehensive, strategic set of initiatives, all borne out of our vision for Lyon and higher education in Arkansas, as we mark our sesquicentennial year.” [Story Continues Below] She continued, “Our strength in education, coupled with our partnership with OneHealth, creates a unique opportunity to meet an important need that affects every Arkansan.” OneHealth has partnered with the Animal Policy Group for guidance in developing the school. The Animal Policy Group works closely with the veterinary industry and schools in the United States and throughout the world to maximize their success. Lyon College Board Chair Perry Wilson described today's announcement as “a proud moment for Lyon College and the state of Arkansas.” “This strategic initiative is consistent with the long-standing mission of Lyon College and will propel the economic growth of our state.” Read more here.