UAMS Center on Aging to Hold Dedication in Fort Smith

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – Dedication ceremonies and an open house for the West Central Arkansas Center on Aging, a program of the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, at 2200 South Waldron Road in Fort Smith.


The new center is one of seven satellites in the state developed by the Arkansas Aging Initiative (AAI), a program of the Center on Aging at UAMS. The West Central Arkansas Center on Aging is different than many of the other centers because it was developed as a partnership between Sparks Health System and St. Edward Mercy Health Network. Both hospitals house medical components of the program at their facilities, but the senior health education component is housed at a central location, where the dedication will be held.


The spirit of cooperation between the two hospitals extends all the way to the director of the new center. This year, Gretchen Orosz, M.D., a physician at Sparks Health System, is the director of the West Central Arkansas Center on Aging. Next year, Danilo Cruz, M.D., a physician at St. Edward Mercy Health Network, will move from associate director to director.


Speakers at the dedication will include: I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., UAMS chancellor; Charles Cranford, D.D.S., UAMS vice chancellor of regional programs and executive director of UAMS’ Arkansas Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program; Lawrence C. Price, M.D., director of the Fort Smith AHEC; Jeanne Parham, senior vice president of Sparks Health System; Sr. Chabanel Finnegan, R.S.M., St. Edward Mercy Health Network; Robin McAtee, R.N., Ph.D., associate director of AAI; David A. Lipschitz, M.D., Ph.D., chairman and professor of geriatrics, physiology and biophysics in the UAMS College of Medicine and director of the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging; Gretchen Orosz; Danilo Cruz; and Ray Baker, mayor of Fort Smith.


The centers on aging were developed by the AAI in partnership with the UAMS Area Health Education Centers, local and regional hospitals and local communities. The AAI receives annual assistance of $2 million from the tobacco settlement to develop and maintain the centers and outreach programs. The AAI is the only program of its kind in the country and seeks to help make quality health care readily available to older Arkansans within a 50-mile radius of their homes.


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. UAMS 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.