UAMS is an academic health center and includes the only medical school in Arkansas. It combines its education efforts with the patient care resources of a hospital and outpatient center and the specialized care and research at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute (formerly the Arkansas Cancer Research Center), Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, Psychiatric Research Institute and Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute.
The Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System is an affiliate of UAMS. Arkansas Childrens Hospital contracts UAMS's physicians for clinical services. UAMS doctors are on staff at the two facilities and both serve as clinical locations for UAMS students and resident physicians to receive hands-on experience treating patients.
The community outreach efforts of UAMS include seven Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) in Fayetteville, Pine Bluff, El Dorado, Texarkana, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, and Helena, Arkansas; networks of senior health centers and centers for young children with special health care needs; and interactive video education and medical consultation services to community hospitals around the state.
The UAMS College of Health Related Professions (CHRP) offers accredited educational programs in: Speech Pathology, Cytotechnology,Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography , Dietetics & Nutrition, Emergency Medical Sciences, Genetic Counseling, Health Information Management, Medical Dosimetry, Medical Technology, Nuclear Medicine Imaging Sciences, Ophthalmic Technologies, Radiation Therapy, Radiologic Imaging Sciences, Radiologist Assistant, Respiratory Care, Surgical Technology
UAMS is the state’s largest basic and applied research institution, with more than $100 million in annual research funding, grants and contracts and internationally renowned programs in multiple myeloma, aging and other areas.
UAMS is one of the largest public employers in the state with about 9,400 employees. As of fall 2006, UAMS had 2,538 students, including 604 medical students, 429 in the College of Pharmacy, 321 in the College of Nursing, 517 in the College of Health Related Professions, 150 in the College of Public Health and 517 in the Graduate School. There were also 733 resident physicians.
UAMS and its affiliates have a total economic impact in Arkansas of about $5 billion per year.
In 1880, Dr. Tom Pinson was the first graduate of the medical school.
In 1924, the medical school was moved when the City Hospital in Little Rock was dedicated. The five-story, $450,000 structure gave the School of Medicine a boost in clinical instruction of medical students. The hospital’s physicians were members of the school’s teaching faculty.
The next move came in 1950, when a 26 acre tract of land on West Markham Street was formally deeded to the university by the Arkansas State Hospital. In 1956, the university, then known as University of Arkansas Medical Center (UAMC), moved to the West Markham campus where it is currently.
The education mission of the institution also has grown. In 1951, the School of Pharmacy was established, followed in 1953 by the School of Nursing. In 1970, the School of Health Related Professions was approved by the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees.
In 1995, the UAMS Graduate School was granted independent status from the Graduate School at the University of Arkansas. In 2003, the College of Public Health opened. In 2005, the College of Public Health was named for the late Dr. Fay W. Boozman, a UAMS graduate who led the Arkansas Department of Health from 1998 until his death in 2005.
In 1975, the names of the schools on campus were changed to colleges and the executive officer’s title became chancellor. In 1980, after being known by several different names through history, the institution’s name changed to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
Dr. I. Dodd Wilson is the current UAMS chancellor. Wilson came to UAMS in 1986 as a professor and dean of the UAMS College of Medicine from the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he was a professor and vice chairman of the Department of Medicine. He was named executive vice chancellor at UAMS in July 1994. He was named chancellor in 2000.
Wilson succeeded Dr. Harry P. Ward, who served 21 years as chancellor and is credited with leading UAMS’ transformation from a small medical school with a charity hospital to an academic health center and research leader. The hospital’s Harry P. Ward Tower is named for him.
Dr. James L. Dennis was the first chancellor. He was originally named vice president of health sciences in 1970, becoming chancellor in 1975 when the title of the institution’s executive officer was changed. To honor his achievements they named the Section of Pediatrics building after him.
The UAMS campus, now encompassing more than 84 acres, is located on Markham Street in Little Rock. The university moved to the property in 1956. The campus includes an estimated of buildings.
Adjacent to the UAMS campus to the south is the John L. McClellan Veterans Administration Hospital, a part of the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. To the west are the Arkansas State Hospital grounds. Just south of the VA hospital is Interstate 630, a major east-west thoroughfare through Little Rock.
Off campus, UAMS owns or leases several properties, including its seven AHECs, 11 locations across Arkansas of its Kids First pediatric day health clinics, the Westside Campus facility on the Arkansas Children’s Hospital campus and a portion of the Freeway Medical building in Little Rock.
UAMS officials said the expansion effort also was necessary because many programs had outgrown their current facilities. In addition, the predicted increase in the number of persons aged 65 or older that could overburden a health care system that already faces shortages of health care professionals.
The largest project will be an about expansion of the UAMS Medical Center, which will include new patient rooms, operating rooms and space for other programs and services. The hospital expansion is needed to replace the outdated original hospital building, which opened in 1956.
The 10-floor hospital expansion will include 234 adult beds and 60 neonatal beds initially, with space for growth that would bring the total capacity to 393 private adult patient rooms between the new facility and the hospital’s existing Ward Tower. It is scheduled to open in late 2008.
The hospital expansion is being built at the site of the old student dormitory, which was imploded on Feb. 19, 2006. The dorm was replaced with a , 177-unit Residence Hall, which opened to students in August 2006.
The five-floor, Psychiatric Research Institute facility, to be built adjacent to the hospital expansion, will include space for inpatient and outpatient treatment, education, research and administration. It is scheduled to open in 2008. A 1,000-car parking deck is being built adjoining the hospital expansion and PRI.
On Sept. 28, 2007, UAMS honored the late Winthrop P. Rockefeller, former Arkansas lieutenant governor, by renaming its Arkansas Cancer Research Center (ACRC) for him while celebrating the groundbreaking for a major expansion to the facility. The 12-floor, more than addition, located just north of the existing facility, will allow the institute to treat more patients and host more research into new treatments. The addition is expected to open in 2010.
A five-floor, addition to the Jones Eye Institute opened in April 2006. It is named the Pat Walker Tower for the Springdale philanthropist whose gift made the project possible.
An approximately Education Building is expected to include 14 10-seat conference rooms, two 100-seat classrooms and two 225-seat auditoriums. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2007.
UAMS is assisting with construction of a state hospital in return for the land where the new residence hall is located and some state hospital buildings that will transfer to UAMS when construction is complete in early 2008. Those buildings will be renovated to house the UAMS College of Health Related Professions.
A satellite campus in northwest Arkansas also is being planned in order to further expand the UAMS student enrollment and accommodate additional medical residents.