Huckabee, Bradford Selected for Public Health Award

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and state Rep. Jay Bradford are the 2006 recipients of the Public Health Through Public Policy Award from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. 


The annual award recognizes outstanding public health advocates who use public policy to make a difference in the health of Arkansans. Both also were inducted into the Delta Omega Honorary Society, the national honorary society for public health, during the May 20 ceremony.


Governor since 1996, Huckabee has led numerous health policy and law changes that will pay significant short-term and long-term dividends for Arkansans, said College of Public Health Dean James M. Raczynski, Ph.D.


The governor’s public health achievements include:

  • Creating the ARKids First program, which provides health insurance to tens of thousands of children of working parents
  • Winning the support of voters to devote all of Arkansas’ tobacco settlement funds to health improvements statewide
  • Curing himself of Type II diabetes through diet and exercise and becoming a role model for citizens by losing 110 pounds and exercising regularly
  • Creating the Healthy Arkansas initiative with goals and incentives for curbing tobacco use and encouraging exercise and healthier diets
  • Creating the Healthy America initiative as chairman of the National Governor’s Association
  • Supporting the state’s obesity law, which places nutrition and physical activity requirements on public schools, including annual body mass indexing of all students
  • Teaming with former President Bill Clinton to get major beverage companies to voluntarily remove high calorie drinks from schools nationwide
  • Leading the effort and signing into law a statewide smoking ban

“Gov. Huckabee has become a national spokesman for improving health through lifestyle changes,” Raczynski said. “This governor has truly been a public health leader.”


Bradford has been a public policy leader and advocate for major public health improvements for the past three decades. He served 18 years in the state Senate where he was the longtime chairman of the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee. After term limits ended his service there in 2001, he became state representative and now is chairman of the House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee.


His leadership has led to numerous laws that put more resources toward reducing teen pregnancies, improving mental health care, reducing tobacco use and encouraging behavioral changes that improve health. It was Bradford’s idea for Huckabee to ask voters to approve his proposed use of the tobacco settlement funds solely for health, and he joined the governor to help win support for other key health initiatives.


“Jay is truly a public health advocate, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for all that he has done for the citizens of Arkansas,” Raczynski said. 


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 2,320 students and 690 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 9,300 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the VA Medical Center. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.5 billion a year. For more information, visit