UAMS Northwest’s North Street Clinic Offers Diabetes Treatment for Marshallese, Boosts Interprofessional Education

By Jon Parham

The North Street Clinic focuses on chronic disease management for type 2 diabetes and is open on Thursdays from 2-5 p.m. The services are delivered to patients by students in UAMS Northwest programs — medicine, pharmacy and nursing — under supervision of UAMS faculty.

“This clinic is a convergence of our commitments to addressing health disparities in our community and offering opportunities for our students to strengthen their skills through interprofessional education,” said Peter Kohler, M.D., vice chancellor for UAMS Northwest and a co-principal investigator on a recent federal grant for studying ways to improve diabetes self-management among the Marshallese living in the region.

Northwest Arkansas is home to the largest Marshallese population in the U.S., which experiences a significant and disproportionate burden of type 2 diabetes, conditions such as high blood pressure and health disparities. The rate of occurrence of diabetes among the Marshallese is one of the highest of any population group in the world.

Diabetes was identified as the top health concern by the Marshallese community, and the clinic provides critically important care for patients with type 2 diabetes, said Pearl McElfish, director of research at UAMS Northwest.

For the UAMS students who will manage the clinic services and coordinate care under supervision, the clinic will give them more experience providing care for populations that experience health disparities. It also will give them the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary teams alongside students from the other programs.

“Interprofessional education gives students a better appreciation for the roles that each of the health professions play as part of the overall health care team,” said Bill Buron, Ph.D., A.P.R.N., regional assistant dean for the UAMS College of Nursing and the clinic’s director. “Students will learn more about health disparities in their own community, which will make them a more culturally competent health care provider.”

The clinic will include more than 3,000 square feet, including exam rooms and a conference room for students to meet with preceptors who will guide them. In addition to the nursing, pharmacy and medical students from UAMS Northwest who will participate, social work students from the University of Arkansas will work with patients.

McElfish said the North Street Clinic will complement other community health organizations in the Fayetteville area, seeking to fill the specific gap in diabetes care for those Pacific Islanders who are uninsured or not eligible for Medicaid.

“Through this clinic we hope to reach those in the Marshallese community who otherwise may have no option for dealing with this chronic disease,” McElfish said

Appointments are required for the clinic. For more information on clinic appointments, call (479)713-8694.

Support from the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation aided in development of the North Street Clinic and establishment of the Willard and Pat Walker Student Clinical Education Center, where students will see patients of the North Street Clinic.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; 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, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,890 students and 782 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 regional centers throughout the state. Visit or