UAMS Establishes Disaster Fund for Katrina Refugees

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has established a UAMS Disaster Relief Fund and mobilized its seven Area Health Education Centers across the state to provide aid to Hurricane Katrina refugees pouring into Arkansas and UAMS.


Also, the UAMS College of Nursing has begun a drive to collect food and clothing for the refugees. Other UAMS departments are responding to the disaster in various ways.


UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., announced establishment of the fund Friday with a $9,000 donation from the UAMS Foundation — $1 on behalf of each of UAMS’ almost 9,000 employees. He invited UAMS employees to contribute to the fund, and $1,000 was collected from employees within the first half hour.


The fund will be administered by UAMS’ Social Work Department and used to buy prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, food, diapers, baby formula, transportation to and from shelters and other essentials needed by families displaced by the hurricane.


“UAMS employees are among the most caring people anywhere in the world,” Wilson said. “They demonstrate that every day in our clinics, our classrooms, our research labs and our offices as they work to make our state a better place for the people of Arkansas.”


“We want to help the refugees and will help them, but as a state institution set up to take care of the people of Arkansas, our funds are limited,” he said.


Wilson said UAMS is seeing a growing number of patients from the Gulf region in the outpatient center, emergency room, and the Arkansas Cancer Research Center who are in need of medications and medical care.


UAMS’ seven AHECs are in Pine Bluff, El Dorado, Texarkana, Helena, Fort Smith, Jonesboro and Fayetteville.


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 2,200 students and 660 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 $4.3 billion a year.


UAMS centers of excellence are the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute.