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Northwest Arkansas has a pretty awesome highlight reel in 2019 to wrap up the decade.

Health care, arts, entrepreneurship and workforce development initiatives, infrastructure improvements and recognition as one of the nation’s best places to live are among the highlights.

The Northwest Arkansas Council compiles an annual year-end summary focused on the year’s best happenings. Only 10 are included, although there were many more regional successes in 2019.

Here are some of the Council’s favorite stories of the year in no particular order.




Northwest Arkansas Health Care: Assessment, Economic Impact and Vision for the Future was released in January 2019, focusing on Northwest Arkansas’ health care sector, a $2.7 billion portion of the region’s economy.

Researchers determined that collaboration to advance the health care sector could transition Northwest Arkansas into a “health care destination,” add thousands of jobs over 20 years and increase the number of cardiologists, neurologists and other specialists who live and work in the region.

The report outlined four recommendations for how the region can attract and retain health care professionals and patients: establish a division of the council focused on health care transformation; expand graduate medical education; develop an interdisciplinary research institute; and develop a medical school.

The Council announced a partnership with Washington Regional Medical Center, Mercy Hospital Northwest, University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest, Arkansas Children's Northwest and Northwest Health to work together to accomplish the goals.

Under an MOU, the organizations agreed to establish a health care transformation division of the Council and to hire a full-time executive director by Jan. 1, 2020 to lead the division.

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