UAMS Invests Nursing Leader Barone in Lang Professorship

By Jon Parham

Helen Lang, R.N., (left) and Nicholas Lang, M.D., join Claudia Barone, Ed.D., A.P.R.N., for a photo.

Helen Lang, R.N., (left) and Nicholas Lang, M.D., join Claudia Barone, Ed.D., A.P.R.N., for a photo.

The April 29 investiture ceremony was held in front of friends, colleagues and family at the Fred W. Smith Conference Center at the UAMS Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute.

The professorship is named for Nicholas P. Lang, M.D., former UAMS Medical Center chief medical officer, and his wife, Helen F. Lang, R.N., a longtime nurse in the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, whose careers in health care stretched across four decades before both retired in December 2014.

“Claudia Barone’s career provides ample evidence of her passion for improving the quality of nursing education and improving health through her work on tobacco cessation techniques — making this professorship a perfect vehicle for her to accomplish both in a way that benefits our nursing students and the health of Arkansans,” said Jean McSweeney, Ph.D., R.N., interim dean for the UAMS College of Nursing.

“She is an outstanding practitioner, an excellent teacher and a passionate researcher,” McSweeney said before she and UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., presented the professorship’s ceremonial medallion to Barone.

“UAMS and the College of Nursing are fortunate to have the Langs as supporters,” McSweeney said. “Just as they helped students and patients throughout their careers at UAMS and the VA, they have continued to do so through endowment of a scholarship in our college and now this professorship.”

Kent Westbrook, M.D., distinguished professor of surgery and founding director of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, hailed the Langs as two of his oldest friends. The Westbrooks and the Langs had dinner together regularly on Fridays for years, he noted, and have a long, enduring friendship.

UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., Barone and Jean McSweeney, Ph.D., R.N., interim dean for the UAMS College of Nursing

(from left) UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., Barone and Jean McSweeney, Ph.D., R.N., interim dean for the UAMS College of Nursing

“With this professorship, they have made a commitment to the good of this institution, the good of nursing and the good of Arkansans,” said Westbrook.

He credited Nicholas Lang as a leader who emphasized good communication skills in his residents and colleagues and Helen Lang as a nurse who valued making surgery go smoothly for patients and ensuring resident physicians received the best possible guidance and training from surgeons and nurses.

Nicholas Lang pointed to three reasons for establishing the professorship: “One, to recognize the importance of nurses in every facet of health care; two to honor Helen’s nursing career and her focus on her patients and on the best experience for the resident and team; and to acknowledge what this institution gave me when it took me on as a student — it gave me an education, it gave me a career and so much more.”

Barone started her career in 1983 as a critical care nurse in the burn center at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center (UVA) in Charlottesville, Virginia, just after receiving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Russell Sage College in Troy, New York. By 1988, she earned her master’s degree in nursing and certification as a critical care clinical nurse specialist.

She relocated to Arkansas in 1988, working as a clinical nurse specialist in the surgical division at UAMS Medical Center before joining the UAMS College of Nursing faculty in 1991. She earned a Doctor of Education degree at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1996.

She has served the college as dean for five years, as interim associate dean of the Master of Nursing Science degree program, department chair and specialty coordinator for the acute care nurse practitioner program and associate dean for academic administration.

Today she practices as an Advanced Practice Partner in the UAMS Center for Nursing Excellence, is a professor in the UAMS College of Nursing and serves as the principal investigator on an interdisciplinary tobacco counseling grant. She is a certified tobacco treatment specialist through the University of Massachusetts Medical School Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine Center for Tobacco Research and Training.

“This is an incredible gift and such an honor for me,” Barone said, noting that the funds from the professorship will be used to further her research into tobacco cessation techniques for surgical patients, which has been shown to improve outcomes.

Claudia P. Barone, Ed.D., A.P.R.N.

Claudia P. Barone, Ed.D., A.P.R.N.

Nicholas and Helen Lang first met in 1977 in an operating room at the Veterans Administration hospital in Little Rock. Married two years later, the couple continued careers in health care that stretched across four decades before both retiring in December 2014.

Nicholas Lang received his medical degree in 1973 at UAMS. He served his residency at what is now UAMS Medical Center and also the John L. McClellan Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Little Rock. He then completed a fellowship at the Laboratory of Immunodiagnosis at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

He joined the UAMS College of Medicine faculty in 1990 as a professor in the departments of Surgery, Radiology and Physiology and Biophysics. He also saw patients in the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, where he served as chief of staff from 2001-2007. He left that position in 2007 to become chief medical officer for UAMS Medical Center, where he served until his retirement.

Helen Lang earned an associate degree in nursing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1975. Her early nursing experience included stints at Baptist Hospital, VA hospitals in Little Rock and Washington, D.C., and at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

She returned to the VA Hospital in Little Rock in 1980, where she worked as a surgical nurse in General Surgery, Cardiovascular Surgery, Surgical Endoscopy and Urology until her retirement.

In 2009, Nicholas Lang honored his wife with a gift to establish the Helen F. Lang, R.N., Scholarship in the UAMS College of Nursing. In 2012, the couple contributed funding toward establishment of the professorship, which reached full endowment in 2014.

The endowed professorship and endowed chair are the highest academic honors that a university can bestow upon a member of its faculty. Those named to a professorship or chair at UAMS are among the most highly regarded scientists, physicians and professors in the academic fields. The establishment of such an endowment at UAMS helps ensure the future of educational excellence, world-class patient care and outstanding medical research.

The endowed professorship is initiated by a single gift or group of gifts that meet a minimum threshold of $500,000. The full amount is invested, and distributions from the endowment earnings are used to support essential and often innovative activities of the honored faculty member in their pursuit of educational, scientific and clinical excellence.