UAMS Receives $900,000 in Federal Funds for Training More Primary Care Physicians

By Ben Boulden

Money from the grant under the Affordable Care Act will fund the salaries, benefits and other costs associated with that training. It is the third year for such funding and will pay for adding two new resident physicians and continued funding for four others added over the last two years under the program.

“We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to have these additional residents in our training program,” said Don Heard, director of UAMS West. “We believe it immediately will benefit health care in western Arkansas and provide more doctors in Arkansas in the near future. Historically, about two-thirds of the physicians who finish their residencies here remain to practice medicine in the state and region.”

With the two new residents, UAMS West has a total of 30 residents in its training program.

“That’s the most residents we’ve ever had in our program since our creation back in the mid-1970s,” Heard said.

Created by the Affordable Care Act, the national Teaching Health Center Program that provided the funding expands residency training in community-based settings. Residents are trained in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, geriatrics, and general dentistry.

The $900,000 award was part of $83.4 million in funding to 60 Teaching Health Centers like UAMS West across the United States, announced July 7 by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. Nationwide, the funding will help train more than 550 residents during the 2014-2015 academic year, increasing the number of residents trained in the previous academic year by more than 200 and helping to increase access to health care in communities across the country.

“We will be able to provide primary care service to a larger number of people,” said Mark Mengel, vice chancellor for UAMS Regional Programs. “For someone lacking a primary care physician, that person now will be able to receive preventive services and chronic disease management — all of those things that can help a patient remain well or make an illness less serious. It will address many of their needs earlier in a clinic environment as opposed to later with more expensive emergency care or hospitalization.”


UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state's Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — COPD, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and four dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.