UAMS Gains Accreditation for Internal Medicine Residency at its Northwest Arkansas Campus

By Jon Parham

Thomas K. Schulz, M.D., is director of the newly accredited internal medicine residency program on UAMS' Northwest Arkansas Campus.

Thomas K. Schulz, M.D., is director of the newly accredited internal medicine residency program on UAMS’ Northwest Arkansas Campus.

The first eight resident physicians will arrive in July 2016 to serve their residencies at Mercy Health System Northwest Arkansas in Rogers and at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville. The postgraduate program will admit eight physicians annually for a three-year specialized residency where they will strengthen their skills caring for patients under supervision of experienced physician specialists.

“Establishing an internal medicine residency here was a major goal we had from the very beginning of this regional campus in 2007 and it is a credit to good work by so many — including our clinical partners at Mercy Health and the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks — to reach this point,” said Peter O. Kohler, M.D., vice chancellor for UAMS Northwest Campus.

In addition, the residents will see patients at a new UAMS Northwest Campus outpatient clinic opening for the program next year.

“Internal medicine is a major primary care need in Arkansas — especially in rapidly growing northwest Arkansas — so this program enables us to begin addressing that need by increasing the number of internal medicine physicians starting their career there,” said UAMS College of Medicine Dean Pope Moseley, M.D.

UAMS already has 30 family medicine and two psychiatry resident physicians in the region. The regional campus also has 201 students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and the allied health professions — including the first 24 students in the physical therapy program that started classes in August.

“Mercy Health System welcomes the opportunity to serve as a good training environment for UAMS resident physicians providing quality care to patients as part of our physician team,” said Steve Goss, M.D., clinic president for Mercy Northwest Arkansas, which will host five new residents annually. “We believe this is an investment in the future — building a conduit that attracts talented young physicians to our area for their residencies, hoping they stay in northwest Arkansas to continue their careers.”

The Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks will host three residents. “The Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks is glad to serve as a clinical host for UAMS resident physicians, a partnership we believe will help the veterans we serve and those physicians serving their residencies with us,” said Mark A. Worley, M.D., interim director, Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks.

Internal medicine specialist Thomas K. Schulz, M.D., joined the UAMS faculty in January 2015 as director for the internal medicine residency program. He said he expects the program will start receiving applications from fourth-year medical students within days.

Interviews will follow, with the program submitting its preferences to the National Residency Matching Program. Residency matches are announced simultaneously across the country to thousands of medical students on Match Day each March.

“We are moving fast and hope to begin interviews within weeks as we promote our program to medical students — and we know there is an interest,” Schulz said. “We worked strategically to assemble a quality program that will provide the additional training and experience to produce excellent physicians.”

Internal medicine residents in northwest Arkansas will be able to connect with the internal medicine residency program based on the UAMS main campus in Little Rock via interactive video for conferences and regular educational presentations. They also will be able participate in elective rotations and fellowships on the main campus, further expanding access to specialty training for the residents.

To gain accreditation, Schulz said, information was required on every aspect of the program. “We had to show that we could offer a viable curriculum and teach internal medicine at a level that would enable our residents to pass the certification exam,” he 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 recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six 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, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.