UAMS Fort Smith Family Medical Center Expands, to Add Residents

By David Robinson

The additional space, a remodeled existing building at 600 South 14th Street, opened Nov. 28 and is one block from its primary Family Medical Center and the UAMS Area Health Education Center (AHEC) West. It gives the clinic a total 27,718 square feet to accommodate an increasing demand for care and provides additional education space.

The additional residency positions, funded by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, will be phased in over the next three years, with two residents added each year. The amount of funding to support the new positions will be announced next spring.

The new clinic has six exams rooms, which can be expanded to eight, and an updated waiting room that includes a specially designed children’s play area.

“We have increased our clinic’s patient volume by 24.5 percent since 2007, so we’re very excited to now have the capacity to meet the growing demand for family medical care,” said Don Heard, Ed.D., director of AHEC West. “We’re equally excited to have these additional medical school graduates coming here for their residency training. Hopefully they will stay here in Arkansas and provide care to Arkansans.”

To become a family medicine physician, medical school graduates must complete three more years of training as residents, treating patients while under the direction of an attending physician.

Arkansas will need to roughly double its current 1,150 primary care physicians to meet projected demand over the next 15 years. Arkansas has 650 AHEC-trained family physicians practicing in 122 Arkansas communities, including 67 of the state’s 75 counties.

With 11 faculty physicians, two nurse practitioners, a pharmacist and a social worker, the Family Medical Center – Fort Smith provides a full range of family medical care, including care for children, adults and the elderly.

In the most recent fiscal year that ended June 30, the Family Medical Center – Fort Smith had 32,578 clinic visits and delivered nearly 500 babies. Doctors there also had more than 22,000 hospital patient visits at Sparks Regional Medical Center, which partners with the UAMS clinic and AHEC. Family Medical Center – Fort Smith physicians also provided more than 300 nursing home visits.

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 hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven 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, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. Named best Little Rock metropolitan area hospital by U.S. News & World Report, it is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has more than 2,800 students and 775 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or