May 13, 2008

Broadway, UAMS and Others Present State Demographics Report to Legislators

LITTLE ROCK – The results of a nearly two-year legislative study initiated by Sen. Shane Broadway of Bryant and coordinated by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health identified concerns by state agencies at being able to provide adequate social services to an aging and increasingly diverse population.


 


The Arkansas 2020 Report projected changes in the demographic makeup of Arkansas between 2006 and 2020, and examined the role of state agencies as they make plans to respond to those changes. The report was presented to several legislative committees today at UAMS.


 


The UAMS College of Public Health coordinated the report, assisted by a team of professors from other state universities including the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Arkansas, Arkansas Tech University and Arkansas State University.


 


“This was a very progressive undertaking for the state of Arkansas and a perfect fit for the College of Public Health to lead,” said UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D. “The results of this study encourage us to take proactive steps to adapt as the needs of the state change.”


 


Some themes highlighted in the report include:



  • Common causes of concern are the increasing number of older Arkansans who will require new or expanded social services and the increasing number of Hispanics, many of whom do not speak English, and will require the hiring or training of bilingual workers

 



  • The majority of state departments and divisions are currently preparing for these anticipated demographic changes

 



  • Most state agencies have identified a current need for additional resources, which could be further exacerbated by the state’s expanding population

 



  • Many state agencies have inadequate technological infrastructures, including computer databases and trained personnel to monitor and project future needs

 


“It is critical that our state consider the anticipated challenges highlighted in the Arkansas 2020 report before we are in the midst of them,” Broadway said. “I encourage our state government to use the findings contained in the report to more effectively and efficiently plan and allocate resources to meet the future needs of Arkansans.”


 


Arkansas educators chosen to help lead the Arkansas 2020 report include:



  • Tyrone F. Borders, Ph.D., associate professor of Health Policy and Management and Epidemiology in the UAMS College of Public Health, coordinated the effort

 



  • David R. Montague, Ph.D., assistant professor of criminal justice and director of the Senior Justice Center at UALR

 



  • Gregory Russell, Ph.D., J.D., formerly with Arkansas State University

 



  • Joe Schriver, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., director and professor at the University of Arkansas School of Social Work

 



  • David Underwood, Ph.D., professor of education and associate vice president of Academic Affairs at Arkansas Tech University

 



  • Ashvin Vibhakar, Ph.D., former director of the Institute for Economic Advancement and professor of finance at UALR

 


The team of faculty coordinators received descriptions from individual state agency directors how the core populations they serve would change from 2006 to 2020. State agencies performed internal scans to determine their capacity to respond to changing population demographics and prioritize their issues of concern. The team then compiled and edited that information for the report.


 


“The report’s breadth and quality has exceeded my expectations,” Broadway said. “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the participating universities that encouraged their faculty to assist in organizing and writing this comprehensive report, particularly Dr. Ty Borders at the UAMS College of Public Health for coordinating this effort.”


 


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 1,150 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. Visit www.uams.edu.