Russians Praise UAMS for Decade of Partnership

By todd

Vice Chancellor Charles O. Cranford, D.D.S., of UAMS accepted letters of commendation from the city of Volgograd in a ceremony there earlier this month.

“I’m pleased to be able to join you for the 10th anniversary of the Volgograd – Little Rock (Arkansas) health partnership,” the Honorable Alexander Vershbow, U.S. ambassador to Russia, said. I would like to congratulate … you, Doctor Cranford, on the 10th anniversary of this partnership.”

UAMS Vice Chancellor Charles O. Cranford (right) and U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow.

Mayor Y. V. Chekhov of Volgograd presented Vice Chancellor Cranford with a proclamation recognizing “his contribution in the development of science, economic and social partnerships between the City of Volgograd (Russia) and the City of Little Rock (USA), his dedication and involvement in implementation of the [tuberculosis] control and family medicine programs in the City of Volgograd.”

The UAMS-Volgograd Health Partnership began 1993 at the request of Russian doctors who needed technical assistance and training to improve health care quality and delivery in Volgograd. Vice Chancellor Cranford, who directs UAMS Regional Programs, agreed to assist Volgograd Medical Academy, the second largest medical center in Russia. Arkansas and UAMS physicians paid their own expenses to travel to VMA to lecture on family medicine, tuberculosis management, and other medical topics, giving their professional time at no charge. In Arkansas, Russian doctors and nurses trained in family medicine in the statewide UAMS Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), at UAMS Medical Center, and in the Arkansas Department of Health. Many local, state-level, and national professional medical organizations have participated in the education of these Russian partners. More than 100 presentations have been provided and 146 person trips have been conducted in 10 years of association. No state funds are used to support exchanges to Arkansas or to Russia.

The critical health care needs of the Russian population greatly exceeded the existing infrastructure. By 2000, considerable funding was needed to sustain the current activities plus accelerate the training of greater numbers of family physicians to serve the population. With unanimous assistance from the Arkansas Congressional delegation, the UAMS-Volgograd partnership was invited to join the USAID Partnership Program in community-based primary care for Fiscal Year 2001. USAID funding also continued in Fiscal Year 2002 and Fiscal Year 2003.