Jerry G. Jones, M.D., Longtime UAMS, ACH Advocate for Children at Risk Receives National Award

By Jon Parham

Jones received the Award for Outstanding Service to Maltreated Children from the academy’s Section on Child Abuse and Neglect on Jan. 27 during the San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment. The award honors a pediatrician or pediatric subspecialist who has demonstrated outstanding clinical care and service to abused and neglected children and families.

For more than two decades, Jones has led the Center for Children at Risk, an integrated medical, social and psychological health care system for the whole family that has experienced child abuse. The center provides medical and mental health services for abused children and their families and advocates on behalf of those children in court.

“To receive recognition from one’s peers is the highest compliment. For Jerry this award is well deserved and the product of years of hard work and dedication,” said Richard Jacobs, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine.

Jones’ work in the field dates back to 1978 when he began serving on a child protection committee at Arkansas Children’s Hospital that was the genesis for the Center for Children at Risk. Today, the center includes two components, the Team for Children at Risk – which Jones also directs – and the Family Treatment Program.

The Team for Children at Risk consists of a physician director, two additional physicians, a nurse practitioner, clinic coordinator, and master’s-level social workers. They provide evaluations of physically and sexually abused children, as well as attention to safety, crisis intervention for their families and appropriate referrals.

Their outpatient services are provided in the Arkansas Children’s House, the only center in Arkansas devoted to the medical evaluation and management of physically and sexually abused children. Since the facility opened on the Arkansas Children’s Hospital campus in 1992, more than 5,000 children have received comprehensive evaluations and management.

The Family Treatment Program, opened in 1991, has provided comprehensive mental health evaluations and treatment for victims of sexual abuse and their families. Treatment is delivered by a multidisciplinary team comprised of three doctoral-level psychologists three social workers and a psychological examiner.

“Jerry really grasped the significance of mental health issues in abuse cases and has been a strong supporter for resources to help victims deal with post traumatic stress that so many suffer,” said Karen Worley, Ph.D., director of the Family Treatment Program and an associate professor of pediatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine. “He is absolutely tireless, whether it’s working with patients, training resident physicians to conduct patient evaluations, appearing in court or traveling across the state to provide education to social workers or health professionals.”

Jones maintains the same drive in his work as when he first got involved.

“I feel the work we do helps the child and his or her family,” Jones said. “My hope is that we can help the healing process begin and use all of our resources to protect the child from further abuse.”

He credited the partnership between UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital for devoting the resources to the help victims of abuse. He noted there was a child protection committee operating at UAMS as early as 1969, later moving to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. The campus spans 29 city blocks and houses 316 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,200 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research – all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children’s health and development. ACH, named three times as one of U.S. News & World Report’s best pediatric hospitals, also ranked No. 85 on the 2010 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. For more information, visit

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