UAMS ANGELS Pre-natal Program Receives National Award, Recognized for Innovation By Council of State Governments

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – ANGELS, a cooperative program between the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), the state Department of Human Services and the Arkansas Medical Society to improve regional pre-natal care for high-risk pregnancies, has been named a national winner in the 2004 Innovations Awards Program of The Council of State Governments (CSG).

The award was presented Wednesday to Curtis Lowery, M.D., a professor in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Tina Benton, R.N., project director, on the final day of the Southern Legislative Conference meeting at the Peabody Little Rock.

Dan Sprague, CSG executive director, announced the award, along with state Sen. Shane Broadway of Benton, chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference of the CSG, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that seeks to foster excellence in state government. ANGELS, the Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System, was one of two programs chosen for recognition among 90 applicants in the Southern Legislative Conference’s 16-state region and is one of eight national winners.

ANGELS is an innovative consultative service to family practitioners and obstetricians in Arkansas for high-risk pregnancies. ANGELS provides a 24-hour hotline, a referral system for patients and case management that includes maternal-fetal medicine consults, detailed fetal ultrasounds and genetic counseling that can be performed at UAMS or at remote sites through telemedicine. It is the only program in the nation that uses university physicians working directly with a state Medicaid program to reduce the number of babies born with severe medical problems.

Lowery said the program allows UAMS to lend its expertise in high-risk pregnancies, which often result in low birthweight deliveries, to physicians throughout the state. “Only 50 percent to 60 percent of low birthweight babies in the state are delivered at UAMS,” Lowery said. “This national recognition couldn’t come at a better time to reinforce how much programs of this type are needed in Arkansas and in other states.”

CSG established the Innovations Awards Program in 1986 to highlight exemplary state programs and practices and to facilitate transfer of those successful experiences to other states. The program is the only comprehensive, national awards program that focuses exclusively on state programs and policies and selects winners based on evaluations by state government leaders. The winning programs will be recognized in a ceremony during CSG’s Annual Meeting and State Leadership Forum in June in Lake Tahoe, Nev. In addition, the winners are showcased in CSG publications like State Government News and on CSG’s web site.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. The school has about 2,170 students and 650 residents and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of about $3.8 billion a year.

UAMS centers of excellence are 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.