August 18, 2022
Bentonville, Ark. (August 18, 2022) –Today, Alice L. Walton School of Medicine announced four new appointments including Lisako McKyer, Vice Dean Faculty Affairs & DEI; Yerko Berrocal, Assistant Dean Foundational Sciences; Kevin Kunkler, Sr. Director Educational Technology, and Jasmin Bland, Director of Curriculum Management.
Founded in 2021 by philanthropist Alice Walton, the School of Medicine, (formerly named Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Sciences), will offer a four-year, medical degree-granting program that integrates conventional medicine with holistic principles and self-care practices. Currently the School is seeking programmatic and institutional accreditation. Construction of the 154,000 square-foot medical education building will begin in spring 2023 on the campus of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, with the goal of completing in time to welcome the first students in fall 2025. The School is seeking certification in Arkansas and programmatic and institutional accreditation. The School of Medicine intends to file its request for applicant status with Liaison Committee Medical Education in August 2022.
“We are honored to welcome this group of visionary leaders who bring a breadth of health and academic experiences and a shared goal to reimagine medical education,” said Walter Harris, Chief Operating Officer, Art and Wellness Enterprises.
A national search for the Dean of the School of Medicine is currently underway. Visit the website for open positions HERE.
Lisako McKyer, PhD, MPH, FAAHB, Vice Dean Faculty Affairs & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Lisako McKyer joined as Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for Alice L. Walton School of Medicine in July 2022. In this role, she oversees appointments and promotions for faculty and other instruction-related positions. McKyer also ensures the School meets DEI recruitment and retention goals and leads initiatives that advance the institution and its faculty.
McKyer previously served as the Inaugural Senior Associate Dean of Climate and Diversity at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, part of Texas A&M Health where she was on the school's executive leadership team. She established and grew the Office of Cultural Competence, Diversity & Inclusion. Dr. McKyer was also a full tenured professor jointly appointed in the Department of Health Behavior (formerly Promotion and Community Health Sciences), School of Public Health, and Department of Humanities in Medicine, College of Medicine. She is a population and public health disparities expert with 90+ peer-reviewed publications, as well as an award-winning mentor to health and medical science scholars. Among her many accomplishments, McKyer was the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D in Health Behavior from Indiana University School of Public Health, was named one of “1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America'' by Cell Mentor, and first Black president of the American Academy of Health Behavior, where she also holds Fellow status.
McKyer has doctoral-level training in clinical science, and earned a Master of Public Health degree, both at Indiana University.
Yerko Berrocal, MD, MHPE, Assistant Dean Foundational Sciences
Yerko Berrocal, MD, MHPE, Assistant Dean Foundational Sciences for Alice L. Walton School of Medicine was appointed in July 2022. In this role, he provides leadership for Foundational Science faculty and oversees Foundational Science faculty and education, working closely with the Vice Dean of Education to advance strategic education goals. Berrocal oversees operations and ensures integration of Foundational Science education into students’ clinical settings.
Prior to this position, Dr. Berrocal was a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences Education at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria (UICOMP), where he served as the Director of the Circulation and Respiration Block and chaired the Peoria Phase 1 Curriculum Committee. Dr. Berrocal was involved in all aspects of pre-clinical medical education, including the delivery, development, and improvement of the curriculum. Before UICOMP, Dr. Berrocal was an Assistant Professor with a focus on medical education at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM), where he held several leadership positions. Before becoming a medical educator, Dr. Berrocal worked on developing cellular transplantation strategies to repair human central and peripheral nervous systems injuries at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine. He was involved in studies required by the FDA to approve phase 1 clinical trials for patients with spinal cord injuries.
A native of Chile, Dr. Berrocal earned his medical degree from Catholic University Santiago de Guayaquil, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience from the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, and a master’s of health professions education in the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Kevin Kunkler, MD, Sr. Director Educational Technology
Kevin Kunkler, MD, Sr. Director Educational Technology for Alice L. Walton School of Medicine was appointed in August 2022. In this role, he leads the educational simulation and standardized patient programs, supports the use of educational technologies within the curriculum, and ensures the School is meeting educational technology requirements. Dr. Kunkler will additionally serve as Professor at the School of Medicine.
Prior to this role, he was Professor, Medical Education and Executive Director Simulation Education, Innovation, and Research at Texas Christian University School of Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas. As one of the founding professors, he helped create the School’s curriculum, processes, and guidelines and started their simulation center. Dr. Kunkler has government, industry, and academic leadership and brings his merged experiences which include clinical medicine, entrepreneurial spirit, strategic vision, governance, management, and leadership to the School.
Dr. Kunkler earned his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine and received a Master of Bioscience Regulatory Affairs from Johns Hopkins University, Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Science.
Jasmin Bland, MBA, Director of Curriculum Management
Jasmin Bland, MBA, Director of Curriculum Management for Alice L. Walton School of Medicine was appointed in July 2022. In this position, Bland ensures that the medical school provides a high-quality and coordinated academic experience for all learners.
Prior to her appointment, Bland was at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia for 20 years, where she served as Admissions Counselor, Educational Specialist, and most recently Curriculum Manager. She is an inclusive administrator and educator devoted to serving diverse student needs and populations to foster an equity-minded culture, instrumental in helping students navigate their journey from orientation to graduation. Bland was recognized for Outstanding Contribution Member to the Class of 2020.
Bland earned her master’s in business administration in project management from Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia and bachelor of science from Shorter University in Rome, Georgia.
Harris adds, “over the next couple years we hope to hire around 100 new positions including a Dean and other faculty and support staff, building on a dynamic leadership team, who will help shape the future of health care in this region and beyond.”
About Alice L. Walton School of Medicine
The mission of Alice L. Walton School of Medicine is to create a new paradigm of medical education that integrates a holistic approach with conventional medicine. Founded in 2021 by philanthropist Alice Walton, the School of Medicine will offer a four-year, medical degree-granting program that integrates conventional medicine with holistic principles and self-care practices. Taught by leading medical practitioners and scientific minds, the first-of-its-kind medical school will help students rise to the health challenges of the 21st century with a focus on mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Currently, the School of Medicine is seeking programmatic and institutional accreditation with the goal of welcoming its inaugural class in 2025. Learn more at ALWmedschool.org.