UAMS Receives $94,500 from Arkansas Medical Society Alliance to Endow Scholarships

By Jon Parham

To help ease the financial burden of obtaining a health care education, the Arkansas Medical Society Alliance recently endowed the scholarships to assist students in the UAMS Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Health Related Professions.

The Arkansas Medical Society Alliance started in the 1920s as a group of physicians’ spouses who wanted to promote health care causes in the state. Over the years, the group has contributed more than $58,000 to UAMS programs in addition to the scholarships the Alliance has awarded to Arkansas students for decades.

“UAMS is grateful for the history of support from the Arkansas Medical Society Alliance and the commitment they’ve made that will help students complete their education,” said UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D.

Said Alliance president Nikki Lawson: “We like to think our mission is to support the profession of our spouses. We are very pleased to make this gift to UAMS, especially since this is an institution that attracts students from all over the state.”

The three scholarships now fully endowed by the Alliance’s $94,500 gift are: 


  • The Ilse F. Oates Scholarship, given to outstanding senior medical students at UAMS for more than 50 years. It was named in honor of Ilse F. Oates because of her dedication to helping medical students. 
  • The Martha Harding Gann Memorial Scholarship, first established as a loan program for nursing students in 1948. It was converted to a scholarship by the Alliance in 1989. The scholarship now supports senior nursing students at UAMS. 
  • The Dr. and Mrs. W.R. Brooksher Jr. Scholarship, established in 1952 as a loan program to aid students training to be medical technologists and other allied health professionals. It was converted into a scholarship program in 1992 by the Alliance. The scholarship now supports students in the Radiologic Imaging Sciences program in the UAMS College of Health Related Professions.

Richard Wheeler, M.D., College of Medicine executive associate dean, noted that the support for the College of Medicine began not long after the Alliance formed. Ilse F. Oates, an early member of the Alliance, which was then called the Medical Society Auxiliary, used to give cash gifts to some students. Later the Ilse F. Oates Scholarship was named in her honor.


Loan programs were soon set up by the Alliance and over time those were converted into scholarships that have been awarded to medical, nursing and allied health students for decades.

“This past fall we had around 650 students in our various programs,” said UAMS College of Health Related Professions Dean Ronald Winters, Ph.D. “I would estimate two-thirds to three-quarters of those students qualify for financial aid based on need and/or merit, so this is gift is very appreciated.”

UAMS College of Nursing Dean Claudia Barone, Ed.D., R.N., gifts such as the Alliance’s are a tremendous help.
“We don’t want to see a student have to stop school when they have a financial crisis,” Barone said.

Other UAMS programs supported in the past by the Alliance include the early childhood literacy program Reach Out and Read in the UAMS Area Health Education Centers and Stop America’s Violence Everywhere (SAVE), a program designed to teach conflict resolution skills to children and assist victims of abuse.

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 employer 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