Former UAMS Jones Eye Institute Director Honored with John P. Shock, M.D., Welcome Center

By David Robinson

More than 200 of Shock’s family, friends and colleagues attended the ceremony, held at the first-floor site of the new Welcome Center at JEI on the UAMS campus. The honor was a surprise to Shock, who has spent the last 30 years building and leading the UAMS Department of Ophthalmology and JEI before stepping down to a supportive role Jan. 1.

“Dr. Shock’s legacy speaks for itself, but one of the hallmarks of his career has been communicating with and educating patients,” said Christopher Westfall, M.D., who took over as director and chair of JEI. “It is natural for his name to be attached to this new-patient experience.”

The John P. Shock Welcome Center is near the first-floor entrance to JEI, directly opposite the optical shop. It will act as an extension of the nearby patient waiting area and will feature:
• An area for American Academy of Ophthalmology-provided fact sheets, brochures and magazines
• A flat-panel television that loops patient educational information
• Seating in couches and chairs
• JEI-related displays, including memorabilia, framed tributes to its endowed chairs and other artwork

Speakers at the event included Dan Rahn, M.D., UAMS chancellor; Romona Davis, M.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology; Richard Harper, M.D., professor of ophthalmology and director of the Low Vision Clinic; and Westfall.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Shock said. “I believe this will add to the patient experience here at JEI and is an effort we can further build on.”

Shock first arrived at UAMS in 1979 and was one of two ophthalmologists on campus at the time practicing with limited office and clinic space. In the 30 years since, eye care and research at UAMS has dramatically evolved. He is credited with securing the original $5.5 million gift from Harvey and Bernice Jones to build the freestanding JEI, which opened in 1994. He subsequently secured a $15 million gift from longtime UAMS supporter Pat Walker for the five-floor addition to JEI that provided more space for patient care, education and research. The Pat Walker Tower doubled the 12-year-old original facility’s size when it opened in 2006.

In Shock’s time at UAMS, JEI has raised more than $50 million, which includes seven endowed chairs, a facility primed for growth and a growing faculty of clinicians and researchers. He also served as dean of the UAMS College of Medicine from 2000 to 2002 and executive vice chancellor of UAMS from 2002-2009. He has held nearly every leadership position on campus.

Although Westfall officially took over Jan. 1, Shock remains on campus full time for two weekly clinic days and works in an advisory fundraising role for JEI.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a 540,000-square-foot hospital; six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,775 students and 748 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