Raczynski, Phillips Pledge $1 Million to College of Public Health

By Spencer Watson

The gift is in honor of the college’s inaugural dean, Thomas A. Bruce, M.D., and his late wife, Dolores.

“We chose to make this gift in honor of Dr. Bruce, whose vision has helped guide our work in education, research and service to public health statewide, and Dolores, who stood by his side and supported these changes,” Raczynski said. “It has been my great pleasure to serve as founding dean of the College of Public Health, and my wife and I could not be more pleased to offer this gift to help make the people of Arkansas a healthier people in the years to come.”

Bruce was the college’s inaugural dean from 2001 to 2002 and the dean of the UAMS College of Medicine from 1974 to 1985. At an earlier point in his career, he served at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Michigan, helping start new initiatives in rural development, health and international leadership.

“Dr. Bruce, although born in Arkansas, could have lived anywhere in the world when he completed his role working for the Kellogg Foundation,” Phillips said. “He and Dolores chose to come back home, and Arkansas has been richer in ways that affect the state’s health, education, and cultural opportunities. He continues to be a tremendous asset to UAMS and the state and is our friend and mentor. His vision for a healthier state by promoting health and reducing the social determinants of poor health continues to shape what we do at the college.”  

The gift will enable UAMS, and specifically the College of Public Health, to continue to focus on the social determinants of health, which are factors in people’s lives that affect their health. They include place of residence, education, employment, income, sex, race, and poverty, as well as access to health care. The College of Public Health provides hands-on education and research opportunities that have created leaders across the state in health policy, behavior, and practice.

“Since both of us have focused much of our careers on the social determinants of health,” Raczynski said, “the naming of this chair ensures for us this enduring focus in efforts to improve the health and well-being of all Arkansans.”  

“Thanks to the leadership of Dean Raczynski and Dr. Phillips over the last 13 years, the College of Public Health has become an integral part of the role UAMS plays as a statewide leader in health care, particularly as it relates to approaches to public health issues,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D..

“We appreciate their generous contribution to the university and hope it inspires others to consider doing the same,” Rahn said. “Gifts such as these allow us to carry on and expand the work we are doing.”

The college has partnered with many institutions over the years, including Hendrix College in Conway, Philander Smith College in Little Rock, University of Arkansas at Little Rock and its William H. Bowen School of Law, Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock, and the Arkansas Department of Health. 

In November 2000, the voters of Arkansas approved the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act that set aside 100 percent of the national tobacco settlement for health initiatives, including the creation of the College of Public Health. The college held its first day of classes in January 2002. 

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 www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.