UAMS College of Public Health Secures $20.4 Million in Grants

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health has secured grants totaling more than $20 million.


The funding includes a five-year, $6.6 million grant from the National Center for Minority Health Disparities, a program of the National Institutes of Health, and a $4 million five-year extension of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) grant to evaluate the implementation of Arkansas Act 1220 of 2003, which established a statewide school-based intervention to address the childhood obesity epidemic.


College of Public Health Dean Jim Raczynski, Ph.D., said the grants are an indication that the College of Public Health has assembled some of the highest quality public health researchers in the country since the college was established in 2001.


“Our faculty members are making a difference in Arkansas and even beyond our state’s borders, and their work is being rewarded with significant national funding for new and meaningful research,” Raczynski said. “These grants allow us to bring in out-of-state resources to help provide answers for public health problems in Arkansas and establish model programs.”


Arkansas has been recognized as a national leader in developing statewide policies to address obesity. The $4 million grant from RWJF will enable the College of Public Health to expand its annual evaluation of Act 1220 to include case studies of individual public schools, said Raczynski, who has been leading the project for the past four years. The college will use the information to help determine the most effective strategies for reducing obesity.


A portion of the latest Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant also will support national workshops hosted by the College of Public Health to help other states evaluate their obesity policies. “We’re already working with Delaware and West Virginia as they develop their own measures aimed at reversing obesity,” Raczynski said.


The $6.6 million minority health disparities grant will fund numerous projects, including:


  • A $2 million, five-year study of a diabetes prevention lifestyle intervention program provided by different delivery methods, including community health workers and health professionals, in rural, primarily African-American communities. The study by T. Elaine Prewitt, Dr.P.H., will determine the impact of the delivery methods on weight loss, cost effectiveness and other outcomes.  
  • Pilot studies totaling $1.1 million over five years that will explore ways to improve the health of primarily lower-income African-American and Hispanic adults and children in Arkansas.
  • An education project for $600,000 that targets historically black colleges and universities in Arkansas to bring more minorities into professional public health careers. The project will include the 4+1 Program, which will allow students to complete their bachelor’s degrees while taking graduate courses toward a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree at the UAMS College of Public Health. Students typically will continue taking master’s courses for an additional year after earning their bachelor’s degrees, completing both degrees in five years rather than the normal six years of full-time study.  

Other grants recently secured by the College of Public Health:


  • A four-year, $3.5 million Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant for a four-year national study of public health systems overseen by Glen Mays, Ph.D., M.P.H. Mays will coordinate the creation of 15 networks of public health agencies around the country that will work to identify better ways of delivering public health services among state and local agencies. The college will receive $1.35 million while the remaining $2 million will be distributed among the network locations. The focus will be on real-world settings and issues, such as work force shortages among public health agencies, and services such as tobacco control, obesity, nutrition, food safety, and water and air quality.
  • A five-year, $3 million National Institute of Drug Abuse study led by Katharine Stewart, Ph.D., M.P.H., for health promotion research. The study will focus on reducing health risk behaviors among rural African-American drug users.
  • A three-year, $1.35 million Centers for Disease Control and Prevention obesity study led by Delia Smith West, Ph.D. The study will examine the impact of a lifestyle weight management program for older adults and a cognition training program to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias using senior centers across Arkansas to offer the programs and lay health educators to deliver the programs. The study is a collaborative effort that includes the UAMS College of Public Health, the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, the Arkansas Department of Health, the Arkansas Division of Aging and Adult Services, and the Arkansas Area Agencies on Aging.
  • Two one-year grants totaling $2.5 million from the Arkansas Department of Health to fund the Arkansas Tobacco Cessation Network and the tobacco Quitline as a public service and for research led by Christine Sheffer, Ph.D.
  • A $709,000 grant over two years to Ruth Eudy, Ph.D., to evaluate the Arkansas Women’s Health Demonstration Waiver, which provides reproductive health services to low-income women in Arkansas.
  • Two Komen Foundation grants for breast cancer research totaling almost $600,000 to Susan Nowell Kadlubar, Ph.D., and Fred Kadlubar, Ph.D.
  • A one-year, $61,235 grant from the Arkansas Department of Health to the Witness Project, which provides breast cancer education and mammogram screenings primarily in rural Arkansas communities.

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 2,538 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,600 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 $5 billion a year. For more information, visit