UAMS Jones Eye Institute Opens Walker Eye Surgical Simulation & Education Center

By ChaseYavondaC

UAMS faculty, staff and supporters celebrated the opening of the Walker Eye Surgical Simulation & Education Center on March 7 with a dedication ceremony, complete with tours of the simulation center, classrooms and clinical space that comprises the renovated floor. Johnny Mike Walker, Walker Foundation trustee and son of Willard and Pat Walker, and Mandy Macke, foundation associate director, were in attendance.

The Walker Center features simulation machines, microscopes and other equipment to help the next generation of ophthalmologists hone their skills. Under new curriculum requirements, ophthalmology resident physicians will have to show proficiency in certain surgical techniques and procedures, including suturing, cataract surgery and glaucoma surgery. The center will also be open to medical students and ophthalmic medical technology students.

Interim UAMS Chancellor Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., and Nancy Shock, wife of John P. Shock, M.D., JEI founding director, share a laugh while viewing the new Walker Center placard on the newly renovated ninth floor of JEI.

Interim UAMS Chancellor Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., and Nancy Shock, wife of John P. Shock, M.D., JEI founding director, share a laugh while viewing the new Walker Center placard on the newly renovated ninth floor of JEI.

“The completion of the ninth floor is the capstone of the Jones Eye Institute,” said Christopher T. Westfall, M.D., Jones Eye Institute director, interim UAMS College of Medicine dean and director of its Department of Ophthalmology. “It’s fitting this was accomplished through the continued generosity of the Walker family.”

The ninth-floor revamp moves all simulation-related tools and equipment that were once scattered across multiple floors in the institute, to a centralized, modern space where residents can review surgeries on television screens and practice procedures.

“We are thankful for the many contributions the Walker family has made to UAMS through the years,” said interim UAMS Chancellor Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D, Ed.D. “UAMS would not be what it is today without the Walkers.”

John P. Shock, M.D., Jones Eye Institute founding director, lauded the Walker family’s charitable giving and commended Johnny Mike Walker and Mandy Macke for carrying on the Walker Foundation’s philanthropic spirit.

The center will be led by Ahmed Sallam, M.D., Ph.D., JEI ophthalmologist and assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology.

“There’s real evidence this will improve our residents’ competency levels, so the benefit of this simulation center is two-fold,” said Sallam. “It increases the comfort level and proficiency of our residents, which in turn, improves patient safety and satisfaction.”

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.