President Jimmy Carter to Speak at UAMS April 1

By todd

The Spine and Neurosciences Institute was established and built thanks to a generous $48 million gift from Jackson T. Stephens of Little Rock. His gift is the largest in the 123-year history of UAMS.

Carter will be the keynote speaker at the April 1 ceremony. Other speakers will include T. Glenn Pait, M.D., a professor in the College of Medicine at UAMS and founding director of the Stephens Institute; Jackson T. Stephens’ sons, Warren Stephens and Steve Stephens; UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., and Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, is chairman of the Carter Center in Atlanta, a not-for-profit nongovernmental organization that advances peace and health care worldwide. On Dec. 10, 2002, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts to advance democracy and human rights and to promote economic and social development.”

Significant accomplishments of his presidential administration included the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel, the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union and the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. At home, his administration’s achievements were many and included a comprehensive energy program conducted by the Department of Energy, major educational programs under a new Department of Education and major environmental protection legislation including the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

“We are very pleased and honored that President Carter will join us for the celebration of this magnificent structure and the vision of Jack Stephens in making it all possible,” said I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., UAMS chancellor. “President Carter has dedicated his life to the betterment of mankind and to issues like health care since he left office.”

The 12-story Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute will be a one-stop shop for state-of-the art medical and surgical treatment for the spine. Dr. Pait, its director, has said he envisions the institute will rapidly become a major facility for life-enhancing diagnosis and treatment for people who need medical or surgical intervention for spine problems.

The Building will contain the Center for the Athletic and Aging Spine, which will focus on spine and back problems for patients of all ages, and it will include facilities for “pre-habilitation” programs that prepare surgery patients for post-operative success and recovery. The Departments of Neurosurgery, Neurology and Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery in the UAMS College of Medicine will be located on three of the planned 12 floors along with interdisciplinary programs related to problems of the spine and the neurosciences. Basic and clinical research labs, outpatient clinical facilities, information technology support systems and conference facilities for education seminars and symposia will also be incorporated into the building.

Former President Bill Clinton attended the February 19, 2002, “topping out” ceremony for the building, thanking Stephens for his generosity and noting “This medical center was very important to me when I was governor.” Gov. Mike Huckabee also attended the topping out and called Mr. Stephens’ gift to UAMS to establish the center “staggering” and predicted that it will allow UAMS “to improve the quality of life for people all over the world.”