UAMS Dedicates College of Public Health

By todd

“Hundreds of people deserve appreciation and accolades” for the drive to devote Arkansas’ share of the 1998 tobacco settlement to health promotion, including establishment of the public health school, Huckabee said.

Dean James M. Raczynski, Ph.D., and UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., praised Huckabee; legislative leaders; Attorney General Mike Beebe; Director Fay Boozman, M.D., of the Arkansas Department of Health; and UAMS Chancellor Emeritus Harry P. Ward, M.D., for helping create the college.

University leaders and President B. Alan Sugg, Ph.D., of the University of Arkansas Systyem surprised the college’s first dean, Thomas A. Bruce, M.D., D.Sc. (hon.), by naming the atrium “Bruce Commons” at the dedication. They singled out Bruce for his vision that “community is the essence of public health” and declared that the atrium and balcony, which overlook Markham Street in midtown Little Rock, will be a gathering place for all who want to make Arkansas a healthier state. As the first, temporary dean of the college, Bruce assembled a faculty and curriculum while plans for the building and recruitment of the first permanent dean were underway.

Although the dedication fell on World Health Day, it was actually scheduled to fit in the governor’s schedule, Wilson told Huckabee during the ceremony. Establishment of the college would not have been possible without Huckabee’s support, Wilson said.

Sugg called dedication of the state’s tobacco funds to health promotion “one of the most remarkable and progressive achievements in the history of our state.” Raczynski presented plaques to Beebe, state Sen. Jim Luker, state Rep. Jay Bradford, and Huckabee for their support of the 2000 CHART (Coalition for a Healthy Arkansas Today) proposal for spending tobacco funds.

The ceremony culminated with a christening of the building by the college’s first graduate, Suzanne G. McCarthy, who sprinkled Arkansas sparkling water on the balcony railing.