UAMS Chancellor Named Rotary’s Business Professional of the Year

By Liz Caldwell

The award is given annually by the service club to honor “one who is successful in business or their profession and has made substantial contributions to the growth of our community and state.”
In addition, the club named Wilson a Paul Harris Fellow by the club. The Paul Harris Fellowship was created in memory of Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary as a way to show appreciation for contributions to the Rotary Foundation’s charitable and educational program. A Paul Harris Fellow is an individual who contributes $1,000 or in whose name that amount is contributed.
Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace and eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self.

Wilson has served as chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences since October 2000 and will be retiring this fall. Before becoming chancellor, he served as dean of the UAMS College of Medicine for 14 years.

He has worked with various groups, including the Arkansas Legislature, hospitals and physicians in Arkansas, and community leaders, to expand the health care work force. He has developed and is putting in action a strategy to address the almost catastrophic predictions of future unmet needs.

He has successfully led the five colleges in their expansion efforts. The total class size has grown from 1,855 students in 2000 to 2,562 in 2008. He has effectively created an emerging satellite campus in Northwest Arkansas because UAMS’ central Arkansas location is limited in its capacity to expand.

In recognition for this work, the new UAMS education building was named for him.

Wilson oversaw more than $460 million in construction projects to expand clinical facilities, highlighted by the Jan. 16 opening of a new 10-story hospital that incorporates the latest medical technology, larger all-private patient rooms and private rooms for infants in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The expansion of UAMS cancer care facilities under way will allow more patients to obtain treatment and access to clinical trials – some of which involve the most difficult and advanced or rare forms of cancer.  Also, UAMS in December completed construction of the Psychiatric Research Institute, which combines research, education and clinical services into one state-of-the-art facility. It marks the first time in 30 years that UAMS has been able to provide inpatient psychiatric care.

Wilson has championed and strengthened UAMS Regional Programs. The Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) last year welcomed an eighth site in North Central Arkansas. The AHECs provide continuing education for health care workers and are sites for family practice residencies that produce physicians who frequently choose to stay in that community after completing their residencies.

Wilson has encouraged the use of the Internet and interactive video for consultation, education and case management. With his support, the UAMS Center for Distance Health has been created, anchored by the nationally recognized ANGELS (Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System) program.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a new 540,000-square-foot hospital, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,652 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 the state’s largest public employers with more than 10,000 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. Visit or