Fred and Louise Dierks’ $1.5 Million Gift Allows Integration of Research Laboratories Into New Psychiatry Center

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – A gift of $1.5 million from Fred and Louise Dierks of Hot Springs has topped off the capital campaign for a comprehensive center in the Department of Psychiatry, a part of the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.


The $5.5 million Psychiatry Center, to be built on the UAMS Campus, will allow UAMS to focus on patient care by consolidating all psychiatric clinicians, researchers and educators in one building. Currently, the department is scattered among 13 locations in central Arkansas. Ground is scheduled to be broken on October 11, with the UAMS Psychiatry Center opening in 2006.


“This gift will allow us to expand the clinical and educational services we offer patients and families coping with mental illness and at the same time to increase our research as we search for tomorrow’s cures,” noted UAMS chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D.


The Dierks’ gift will allow the integration of the Division of Health Services Research (DHSR) and the newly established Arkansas Center for Addictive Behaviors (ACAB) into the new building. DHSR, the largest research group at UAMS, is recognized as one of the most innovative research facilities in America. With over $40 million in active research grants, faculty members work to improve mental health care through the development, implementation and dissemination of policy-relevant and clinical-relevant health services research. The ACAB is a College of Medicine center that seeks to determine better treatments for substance abuse patients, improve substance abuse policy, and discover new knowledge of brain function in people who abuse substances.


“In recognition of their generosity, vision and concern for the health of their fellow Arkansans, we will name the research wing the Fred and Louise Dierks Research Laboratories,” said G. Richard Smith, M.D., the Marie Wilson Howells Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry.


The Dierks have been longtime and generous supporters of UAMS, beginning in 1985 with a gift to help build what is now the Arkansas Cancer Research Center. In 1988, the couple became members of the Chancellor’s Circle of giving, and in 1993 gave their first large gift to UAMS – to help establish the Arkansas Center for Eye Research program, which is now housed in the Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute.


This year, Fred Dierks became interested in psychiatry after learning about UAMS’ campaign to construct a building for the Department of Psychiatry and its programs. This most recent gift – the couple’s largest to UAMS – is another example of their support and commitment to the state’s only medical educational facility.


The Dierks owned timberland in south Arkansas for many years before selling their interests to Weyerhaeuser. Louise Dierks is an artist who is particularly interested in sculptural shapes, forms and textures to be found in nature. She was a founding member of the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock and Women in the Arts. She was a founding member of the Hot Springs Southern Artists Association (now Hot Springs Arts Center) and served as its director of art education for two years.


The UAMS Department of Psychiatry provides residency training, offers comprehensive child, adolescent, young adult and adult out-patient clinical services and conducts research in a wide range of mental health issues.


The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center and a statewide network of regional centers. The school has about 2,170 students and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS has an economic impact in Arkansas of about $3.8 billion a year.


UAMS Medical Center includes the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute.