Lyon’s dental, vet school to be housed at Heifer campus in LR | News

It was announced Thursday the Heifer International campus in Little Rock will house the Lyon College’s Institute of Health Dental and Veterinary Schools.

“We are thrilled to locate the Lyon College Institute of Health Sciences at 1 World Avenue,” said Dr. Melissa Taverner, president of Lyon College. “We are excited to share space with Heifer International, which has dedicated more than seventy years to improving human nutrition and animal health locally and abroad.”

Located on 28 acres in the East Village area of Little Rock, the modern, eco-friendly campus is a blend of urban, meets nature, meets world.

The building has 94,000 square feet of office space. Other tenants include the Clinton Foundation. Heifer International has signed a long-term lease to remain in the building, as well.

“East Village is poised to be a hub of future economic growth in central Arkansas, we are excited to build upon the foundation that Heifer has made in promoting health solutions for Arkansas and the world,” said Merritt Dake, partner of OneHealth Companies.

During a recent visit with the Kiwanis Club of Batesville, Taverner said the target date to getLyon College’s Institute of Health Dental and Veterinary Schools up and running is 2024-25.

“As educational trends change, and as students change, we want to meet students where they are,” Taverner said, when speaking to the Kiwanis Club.

In its evolving mission to serve students, Lyon College will soon be offering select graduate degrees, such as offering a Masters of Arts in Teaching, and expanding undergraduate offerings, such as a collaboration with White River Medical Center (WRMC) in to develop an RN to BSN program.

Earlier this year, Lyon College, along with its partners at OneHealth Education Group, announced plans to develop the state’s first dental and veterinary medicine schools. Ideally, with these colleges being centrally located in Little Rock students will be able to do their residency programs throughout the state, as well as specialty placements.

Arkansas ranks 51st in the country, behind Puerto RIco, for dental health and is experiencing a dentist shortage.

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% of Arkansas’s economy, with poultry, cattle, and equines accounting for the largest share of that. The number of new veterinarians entering the profession each year increases by just 2.7% annually, falling short of the need for 40,000 new veterinarians in the United States by 2030.

There is a tremendous need, but when students leave the state to pursue those degrees, they often don’t return. They establish relationships, both personal and professional, and roots get put down.

“Once students migrate away from Arkansas for school, they are less likely to return, draining talent and energy from our state.” said Andy Goodman, president of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges & Universities, previously.

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