More Than 200 Physicians Complete Residency Training at UAMS

By Ben Boulden

“UAMS is the only university in Arkansas that offers residency training, and it does that statewide through its regional centers as well as in Little Rock,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. “Keeping so many in the state after their residency ensures Arkansans now and in the future will receive excellent medical care and renews the strength of the health care sector statewide.”

College of Medicine Dean Pope L. Moseley, M.D., said that as the state’s only comprehensive academic medical center, UAMS is uniquely able to prepare Arkansas’ aspiring physicians to provide the highest quality of care.

“Our focus on the importance of high-quality, patient-centered care starts on the first day of medical school and continues through the multiple years of residency, and often fellowship training, in each specialty,” Moseley said.

UAMS has historically kept a high number of physicians in state after completing their residencies. According to the latest figures from the Association of American Medical Colleges, from 2004 to 2013, only seven other states had higher retention rates.

On June 30, 214 medical residents completed training at UAMS’s main campus and its regional centers in their chosen medical specialties with more than 50 different specialties represented.

Of the 214, 56 are family medicine residents, with 33 of those remaining in Arkansas. Seven of those stayed in small towns.

Physician retention is a goal of the UAMS College of Medicine when it selects residents for training.

“In the College of Medicine, we are mindful to choose people who have a high likelihood of serving here after residency,” said James Clardy, M.D., the college’s associate dean for Graduate Medical Education.

“We know our state needs physicians and accept that a certain number will leave the state after training. All things being equal between candidates for residencies, we encourage selecting physicians who are more likely to stay. Partly because of our choices and partly because of our student demographics, we retain a relatively high percentage of residents,” Clardy said.

About 80 percent of College of Medicine students are in-state. Some graduates who leave the state for fellowships after their residencies return to Arkansas within five years, Clardy said.

“Many physicians stay where they have finished their residencies,” Clardy said. “They are there three or more years, and it starts to feel like home. They see their friends going into medicine near where they are practicing. It’s a built-in network. It’s hard to leave, and so many of us love the state anyway.”

More than half the family physicians in Arkansas were trained through UAMS residencies in Little Rock and its regional centers throughout the state. Currently 758 family practice physicians trained by UAMS are practicing in 69 of the state’s 75 counties.