Boyers Welcome Pattersons at Friends of UAMS – Northwest Arkansas Event

By Benjamin Waldrum

Tommy Boyer is a member of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees and was an All-American basketball player with the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He was inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

"It's a great day for UAMS," Boyer said.

“It’s a great day for UAMS,” Boyer said.

Boyer assembled friends and guests in to meet Patterson and his wife, Kristine Patterson, M.D. A long, winding driveway saw many guests opt for a golf cart escort driven by UAMS medical students to the front door.

“It’s a great day for UAMS,” Boyer said. He recognized Mark Waldrip, a member of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, and Joe Steinmetz, Ph.D., chancellor for the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He then introduced Dan Ferritor, Ph.D., who served as chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville from 1986-1997. Ferritor is vice chair of the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus Advisory Board.

Ferritor thanked the Boyers for hosting and welcomed the Pattersons to Arkansas.

“It’s a great beginning to have him here,” Ferritor said of Patterson, calling him a builder. “I think we really have a person who has the kind of training and experience that we need at UAMS. He is a can-do kind of person, and Arkansas needs a can-do kind of person.”

Ferritor praised Patterson’s accomplishments as a researcher and cardiologist, and said that his time at Weill-Cornell Medical Center and Komansky Children’s Hospital/New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York would serve him well at UAMS.

“When it comes to health care needs [in Arkansas], you look to UAMS,” Ferritor said. “They provide the education, they provide the tertiary care, they provide exactly what’s needed to help a state like Arkansas receive the medical care that it needs, and that it deserves.”

In particular, Ferritor mentioned Patterson’s specialty in digital health. “Digital health is really an exciting inroad for Arkansas, because it allows us to be able to provide health care to people where they need it, not where we happen to be.”

Chancellors Patterson and Steinmetz.

Chancellors Patterson and Steinmetz.

After being introduced, Patterson thanked the Boyers for hosting, and said he was excited to be back in Fayetteville, where he made several visits after being named UAMS chancellor.

Patterson recognized University of Arkansas Board of Trustees and members of the UAMS Foundation Fund Board, including Lewis Epley, Ron Russell, Carl Collier, Pharm.D., Gilda Underwood, and Charles Scharlau.

He also recognized Christopher Westfall, M.D., dean of the UAMS College of Medicine; Patricia Cowan, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the UAMS College of Nursing; Leslie Taylor, vice chancellor for Communications & Marketing; and Pearl McElfish, Ph.D., MBA, vice chancellor for the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus. He also thanked Mercy Health-Rogers, Washington Regional Medical Center, Veterans Healthcare System of the Ozarks and Northwest Health as partners in medical education.

“We really have felt at home,” Patterson said. “Within the first month of being here, we’ve met more of our neighbors than we met in four and a half years in New York. I think it says a lot about the people who live in Arkansas, and what this place is all about.”

Patterson singled out the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus for its role in UAMS’ mission of promoting patient care, research and medical education throughout the state. “So much of that good work happens at our northwest Arkansas campus,” he said, saying that the campus has doubled its research funding and its number of residents over the last three years. “That kind of growth is only just barely keeping up with the growth in this area,” he said.

The campus, located in Fayetteville, has graduated 435 students in medicine, physical therapy, pharmacy, nursing and radiologic imaging since its inception more than 10 years ago, and today has more than 300 students and residents.

UAMS graduates more than 400 medical students each year, but only has 250 residency spots available, Patterson said. He pledged to increase available residency spots by 100 to further support medical education in Arkansas. “People who train here, stay here,” he said.

He touted the progress UAMS has made in tightening and readjusting its programs over the past year, saying that the institution has a balanced budget for the first time in four years. With a balanced budget, Patterson said, UAMS can now work to bring salaries to market level, begin new programs, and accelerate the growth of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Campus.

“We need to think about innovation, about creating new educational opportunities, and about doing the kind of research that is meaningful for the 3 million Arkansans who depend on us,” Patterson said.

Other goals Patterson has for UAMS in the coming years include achieving National Cancer Institute designation for the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, growing its stroke and trauma programs, and expanding its number of regional campuses across the state.

“We have a lot of good work to do here, and we are excited about the opportunity to do it,” Patterson said. “We are really here to help the people of Arkansas sleep better at night.”

Friends of UAMS has 14 chapters across the state, including northwest Arkansas, Texarkana, Jonesboro, Monticello, Batesville, Pine Bluff, Helena-West Helena, Hot Springs, Fort Smith, Magnolia, Mountain Home, Hot Springs Village, Russellville and Searcy.

For more photos from the event, visit the UAMS Flickr page.