The Whole Health Institute is establishing a new medical school in Northwest Arkansas.
Founded by Alice Walton in 2020, the Whole Health Institute focuses on integrative health, taking a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. The Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Sciences has been designed to reimagine contemporary medical education, incorporating mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health into its curriculum.
“The Whole Health School of Medicine will help medical students rise to the health challenges of the 21st century through a reimagination of American medical education that incorporates mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health, the elements of Whole Health, to help people live healthier and happier lives,” Walton said in a statement.
The not-for-profit medical school is set to break ground on an education and training facility in Bentonville in 2022. The Whole Health Institute previously announced that it would be launching construction on a new multi-use facility, which will contain WHI offices and community spaces, in spring 2021.
Medical students attending the Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Scienceswill have a curriculum that blends “traditional and conventional medicine” and “integrative techniques.” It will also include biomedical sciences, clinical training, entrepreneurship and research. Students with have a capstone project. Students will graduate with a Doctor of Medicine degree.
According to a news release, the medical school will offer degrees and certificates in multiple topics. Possible degrees and certificates includefunctional nutrition, mental health, social work, and health coaching.
Currently, the school is seeking accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. This committee is part of the Association of American Medical Colleges and is the U.S. Department of Education-recognized accreditation body. According to the AAMC website, accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education is a voluntary and peer-reviewed process, in which schools must show that graduates “exhibit general professional competencies that are appropriate for entry to the next stage of their training and that serve as the foundation for lifelong learning and proficient medical care.”
The medical school’s core leadership team will include founding dean Elly Xenakis, MD; executive vice dean Colleen O’Connor, Ph.D.; and vice dean for education Adam Rindfleisch, M.D., M.Phil.
“I’m delighted to join this innovative new School of Medicine and Health Sciences and help develop a new paradigm for medical education that changes how people’s health is supported to improve outcomes and lower costs,” Xenakis said. “Grounded in a focus on the whole person, physicians of the future will be better equipped to redesign professional care and to empower and support people.”
The Whole Health Institute is aiming to matriculate its first class of students in the fall of 2024.