Blue and You Foundation Gives UAMS $104,169 for Simulation Education to Reduce Infection

By Benjamin Waldrum

The gift goes to fund the Simulation Outreach to Address Patient Safety (SOAPS) program, begun two years ago and which served as a catalyst for a statewide initiative to improve patient safety in Arkansas. The program will be expanded to five hospitals in Arkansas.

“Patient safety is one of UAMS’ core values, and we’re pleased to receive continued support from the Blue & You Foundation in this endeavor,” said UAMS Interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D. “With the success of programs like SOAPS, we can significantly reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections.”

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by the body’s response to infection. Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly cause tissue damage, organ failure and death. It is the most expensive condition treated in U.S. hospitals, and the estimated annual cost of treating sepsis in Arkansas is $200 million.

“This is our second year of funding this important program to reduce serious infection in Arkansas,” said Patrick O’Sullivan, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation. “After a successful first year of training in southeast Arkansas, this second grant will take the training to five additional hospitals in central and north Arkansas.”

SOAPS was created in 2016 when the Blue & You Foundation awarded UAMS $110,752 for a one-year simulation education outreach pilot project. Using web-based learning modules and hands-on simulation training, health providers in Chicot and Helena-West Helena were taught better methods for identifying sepsis, with the goal of providing training across multiple hospitals in the Arkansas Delta.

The project coincided with the 2017 creation of the statewide Sepsis Collaborative, a joint initiative of UAMS, the Arkansas Hospital Association, Arkansas Department of Health, and the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care to improve early recognition and treatment of sepsis, and to reduce the effects of hospital-acquired infections.

This latest gift from the Blue & You Foundation will enable UAMS, in collaboration with the Arkansas Hospital Association and Arkansas Department of Health, to guide participating hospitals through an examination of organizational policies, procedures and hospital equipment to ensure that they are in compliance with current evidence-based guidelines for best practice.

Gregory Snead, M.D., UAMS associate professor of emergency medicine, and the Simulation Outreach team will provide training to 250 medical professionals at Conway Regional Medical Center, Baptist Health Medical Center – North Little Rock, Five Rivers Medical Center in Pocahontas, White River Medical Center in Batesville, and River Valley Medical Center in Dardanelle. Additional funding from the Arkansas Hospital Association may enable an additional 150-200 medical professionals to be trained.

Each hospital will benefit from the same web-based learning modules, lecture and hands-on simulation training as those in the pilot. SOAPS team members will work with clinical care providers, infection prevention personnel and quality improvement officers on ways to continually track their rates of infection.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation in 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in Arkansas. The Blue & You Foundation awards grants annually to nonprofit or governmental organizations and programs that positively affect the health of Arkansans. In its 16 years of operation, the Blue & You Foundation has awarded more than $30 million to 1,319 health improvement programs in Arkansas. Visit

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight 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, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 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, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.