The Louisiana Board of Regents today voted to approve a medical school to be located at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

Discussions have been underway between ULM and the New York Institute of Technology about the creation of the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine School on ULM's campus. On Wednesday, a large group of supporters, including school officials, Dr. Nick Bruno, President of ULM, and others gathered at the Board of Regents meeting in Baton Rouge for the vote. The board voted unanimously to approve the school.

Dr. Charles McDonald, a member of the Board of Regents, said that the school is anticipated to have a large economic impact on the area. He also said that this endeavor would help bring primary care doctors to the Delta. With one-third of primary care doctors in the area in their sixties, the influx of new physicians is welcome in the area.

ULM signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) in April to establish the private, non-profit school at ULM. NYIT has already opened an osteopathic medical school at Arkansas State University at Jonesboro that began accepting students in Fall of 2016. NYIT also operates a medical school in Old Westbury, New York.

The medical school would still need the approval of accrediting agencies.

Graduates of the school would be Doctor's of Osteopathic Medicine or DO. Both DO's and MD's are licensed to practice medicine. According to the American Osteopathic Association, "Osteopathic medicine is a complete system of medical care with a philosophy that combines the needs of the patient with the current practice of medicine, surgery and obstetrics; that emphasizes the interrelationship between structure and function; and that has an appreciation of the body's ability to heal itself. DOs are fully licensed to prescribe medicine and practice in all specialty areas including surgery. They are trained to consider the health of the whole person and use their hands to help diagnose and treat their patients."

The medical school is targeting a fall of 2019 opening and anticipates an initial enrollment of 115 students.