Joseph Bates Honored by Arkansas Medical Society

By Holland Doran

June 2, 2014 | Joseph Bates M.D., professor of epidemiology and associate dean for public health practice in the UAMS College of Public Health, was recently awarded the Asklepion Award by the Arkansas Medical Society for his contributions to health care in Arkansas.

The award, named for the Greek god of medicine, is given annually to a physician who promotes the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health; embodies the values of the medical profession through leadership, service, excellence, integrity and ethical behavior; and serves the community through dedicated medical practice.

In a recent award presentation, Thomas Bruce, M.D., emeritus professor of health policy management in the UAMS College of Public Health, and emeritus professor of medicine in the UAMS College of Medicine, praised Bates.

“He’s a special guy in medicine and has been an all-star in just about everything he’s done,” Bruce said. “His accolades, of course, have largely been academic, but in fact he’s a fantastic physician — kind of the old style physician. Whatever he’s done through the years, he’s always been, first of all, a great physician.”

Bates, who is also deputy state health officer and chief science officer for the Arkansas Health Department, responded with gratitude toward the society and his colleagues.

“Altogether, I’ve lived through the most spectacular time in medicine,” he said. “It’s been an honor to be a part of that. We’ve had Medicare and Medicaid, and now we have the Private Option. We’ve suffered through changes, changes, changes, but mankind has benefited so much from people like you in this room…To be honored by people like you for this is an honor that I can’t fully express.”

Bates’ medical accomplishments spans more than five decades. He attended Hendrix College and graduated from UAMS, where he did most of his residency training. He went on to serve as a professor in several capacities at UAMS, and he has received many awards for his achievements. He also retired as a major from the United States Army.

The Arkansas Medical Society is a voluntary professional association, established in 1875, representing more than 4,300 physicians and medical students as well as the patients and communities they serve. Some of the society’s most recent advocacy efforts include supporting extending private health insurance coverage to working families earning below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, advocating for responsible and practical reforms such as patient-centered medical homes and establishing a prescription drug monitoring program to combat abuse and diversion of prescription drugs. Other significant advances for Arkansas patients and physicians supported by AMS include establishing a statewide trauma system and passage of the Clean Indoor Air Act.