UAMS Witness Project Director Named Purpose Prize Fellow

By todd

LITTLE ROCK — Charlie Stayton, director of the Witness Project at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), has been named an inaugural Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures, a national think tank and project incubator that uses the talents of older adults to promote social change.


Stayton participated in the first-ever Purpose Prize Innovation Summit Sept. 7-9 at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. The summit showcased how Purpose Prize Fellows are using their experience and skills to solve long-standing problems. It was cosponsored by Civic Ventures and the Stanford Graduate School of Business’ Center on Social Innovation, one of the world’s leading academic centers focused on social entrepreneurship.


Stayton, a survivor of cervical cancer, joined the Witness Project as a volunteer in 1990 and was later hired as director. The Witness Project is a breast and cervical cancer education and outreach program targeting African American, minority and medically underserved women in the Delta region of Arkansas.


Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer other than skin cancer among women in the United States, and yet many women delay screenings for a range of reasons — limited knowledge of the disease, misunderstanding of appropriate screening frequency, restricted access to screening and treatment, and lack of insurance coverage. Volunteers for the Witness Project visit women in African-American churches, community centers and work sites and teach them about the benefits of early detection through breast self exams and mammography.


Purpose Prize Fellows are selected from the top candidates for The Purpose Prize, a program that awards five $100,000 prizes and ten $10,000 prizes to people older than 60 who are tackling problems in their communities and the country. The fellowship program and Innovation Summit support these people, help them develop their capacity, link them with funders and venture philanthropists, and seek to combine these individual efforts into a wave of social innovation.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,320 students and 690 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with more than 9,400 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.5 billion a year. For more information, visit