UAMS Northwest Vice Chancellor Pledges $250,000 to UAMS Northwest Campus

By Spencer Watson

The gift will be used for continued development of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, which expects to enroll its first 24 students in 2015. This program, a part of the UAMS College of Health Professions, is the first UAMS academic program to be housed solely on its Fayetteville campus.

“UAMS Northwest is an important part of our mission to lead health care improvement and education in Arkansas and Dr. Kohler’s leadership in getting the regional campus started was crucial to its success,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. “For him to make this major personal pledge gives a clear indication of his commitment to the campus, to UAMS and to the people of Arkansas.”

Opened in 2009, UAMS Northwest enrollment now totals 190 students and resident physicians across multiple programs in medicine, pharmacy, nursing and the allied health professions.   

“UAMS Northwest has received tremendous philanthropic support from the region, totaling more than $9 million in gifts and commitments from individuals, foundations and corporations,” Kohler said. “My wife and I are happy to join these generous partners in supporting the campus in launching this new academic program.”

Kohler was appointed vice chancellor for UAMS Northwest in 2007 after retiring as president of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland in 2006. He is president emeritus at OHSU after leading that institution for 18 years.

Earlier in his academic medical career, Kohler served nine years as chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine in the UAMS College of Medicine on the institution’s main campus in Little Rock. He also served as interim dean for the college in 1985-1986.

“It is notable when our staff members choose to make their own personal financial contributions to the institution,” said Lance Burchett, UAMS vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement. “We are grateful for Dr. Kohler’s significant gift, which has already motivated others to do likewise.”

The physical therapy program is in the start-up phase, with construction on classroom and research space, administrative offices and four teaching labs to begin later this year. Faculty therapists and physical therapy students will gain clinical experience in a physical therapy clinic slated to open on campus by the end of 2014.  

John Jefferson, Ph.D., was named director of the program in 2013. A clinical education director recently joined the program to assemble the clinical elements of the program and identify additional clinical partners for hosting students.

The UAMS physical therapy program plans to add 24 students a year for the three-year doctoral degree program.

“We feel good that we are creating the kind of quality program that will produce top-notch practitioners who will help patients in Arkansas for many years to come,” Kohler said.


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.