UAMS Establishes College of Medicine Scholarship for Underrepresented Minorities

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – Two community organizations have pledged a total of $100,000 to help establish the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ (UAMS) first endowed scholarship fund to benefit underrepresented minority medical students and honor the late Raymond Miller, M.D., a beloved UAMS graduate.


The pledges were made by the Arkansas Medical Dental & Pharmaceutical Association (AMDPA), whose president is UAMS’ Billy Thomas, M.D., and the Arkansas Minority Health Commission.


Former College of Medicine Dean Thomas Bruce, M.D., has led the $400,000 fundraising effort for the Raymond P. Miller Scholarship Endowment.


Bruce, chairman of the Raymond P. Miller Scholarship Endowment Committee, first secured $100,000 from the Arkansas Community Foundation as a “challenge grant” and now has $324,000 in contributions and pledges.


Both the Minority Health Commission and the AMDPA will fulfill their pledges over the next 18 months, with their first installments of $25,000 each to be made this month.


The endowment is expected to earn about $16,000 annually, which is enough to award a full-tuition scholarship each year. The first scholarship will be awarded to a College of Medicine student next year, with the scholarship committee giving preference to an underrepresented minority with financial need and outstanding character and scholarship.


Bruce said he was inspired to lead the fundraising effort because of Miller’s friendship and professionalism.


“Raymond Miller had a record of distinguished service at the University of Arkansas and through his extensive leadership in the business and professional community,” Bruce said. “He was a fine physician and a great human being.”


Bruce also noted that UAMS’ efforts to increase its minority representation coincide with national initiatives to recruit more minorities into medicine.  


UAMS’ focus on the issue has resulted in more than double the number of underrepresented minorities in this year’s freshman class in the College of Medicine, said Thomas, UAMS associate dean of Diversity Affairs.


“This year’s increase in admissions is significant, but perhaps even more importantly will be our efforts through scholarships – such as the Miller Scholarship – to not only attract more students but retain them,” Thomas said.


Miller grew up in Cotton Plant, a farming community near Brinkley, the eighth of 14 children. He went to Arkansas AM&N (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), and decided to pursue medicine. He chose internal medicine and completed his residency and then a fellowship in pulmonary disease at UAMS.


In 1972 Miller became the first African-American to serve on the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. He served as chairman from 1981 to 1982, and his accomplishments were recognized with the national Distinguished Trustee Award from the Association of Governing Boards of American Colleges and Universities.


Miller also served on many other boards, including those of Worthen Bank and its successors, AP&L and Entergy Corp. and the Razorback Foundation. He received many accolades, including distinguished service awards from the College of Medicine and the Razorback Foundation and the National Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Community and Justice.


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