UAMS Awarded $300,000 for Distance Education of Doctors, Nurses Who Treat High-Risk Pregnancies, Children

By Jon Parham

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant was announced recently by U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and U.S. Representatives Marion Berry, Vic Snyder and Mike Ross.

The money will be used over three years to expand UAMS’ teleconferencing equipment for long-distance education and to purchase software that will allow instructors to record presentations so students can access them online. UAMS’ Antenatal & Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System (ANGELS) program will prepare nurses and doctors for responding to non-routine, high-risk health factors for pregnant mothers, infants and children.

The ANGELS distance education program will enable rural providers to complete continuing education training in their local communities and when it best fits their schedule. UAMS will provide training for rural health care providers in Arkansas and surrounding states in the Delta region.

“We are excited to partner with physicians and nurses at rural hospitals throughout the Delta region,” said UAMS Assistant Professor Sarah Rhoads, a doctor of nursing practice and advanced practice nurse in the College of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Rhoads is also the principal investigator on the grant. “Funding for our continuing education programs will enable UAMS to reach more rural health care professionals and provide them with training that is central to evidence-based practice of medicine.”

“This investment will allow rural health care professionals in Arkansas to receive important training that will result in improved patient care,” Lincoln said. “This grant will make medical training more easily accessible for the doctors and nurses who serve rural Arkansas, which is critical to delivering high-quality care to the patients who live in those areas. I strongly support efforts to incorporate new technologies into the way we train our medical professionals and care for patients, and I will continue fighting to improve and expand access to health care in Arkansas.”

“Continuing education for health professionals is vital to providing quality care, as new technologies and treatments are being developed all the time. These funds will help doctors and nurses in rural Arkansas access important training programs that will allow them to better serve expectant mothers and children,” Pryor said.

“Nurses and other health care professionals who treat pregnant mothers and children face a lot of varying symptoms and complications, some of which they may not have dealt with before,” Berry said. “The Distance Learning program is a great facilitator in sharing information among health professionals around the country, so that they will be able to anticipate these health issues when they arise in the hospital and deal with them confidently.”

“Funding distance learning for maternal and child health education has a proven record of success,” Snyder said. “In fact at a recent House Veterans Affairs committee, Dr. Cattell–Gordon, the director of Rural Network Development at the University of Virginia Health System, complimented Arkansas for ‘doing a fabulous job with reducing infant mortality by providing high-risk obstetrical care through our telehealth network.’ He said that ‘we have shown a 26 percent decrease in infant mortality in Arkansas because of this program.’ Using technology in this capacity not only provides more rural Arkansans with better access to care, but also provides more rural Arkansas students with the opportunity to get a medical education and help strengthen these professions especially now when there are shortages – a time when it is most needed.”

“Health care professionals in rural areas face their own unique set of challenges,” Ross said. “We must ensure our medical professionals – both in rural and urban areas – have access to the latest tools, resources and information they need to best serve their communities. I’m proud to help announce this federal investment in the UAMS ANGELS program so that it may continue its outstanding work in distance-learning education for Arkansas’ rural health care professionals.”

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; a statewide network of regional centers; and six institutes: 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. UAMS has 2,775 students and 748 medical residents. 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