$1.5 Million Estate Gift Creates Full Tuition Scholarship in UAMS College of Medicine

By Benjamin Waldrum

“This incredible gift will provide for countless students in the College of Medicine and have an immeasurable impact for Arkansas,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA. “UAMS is an academic institution as well as a health sciences center, and we take our job seriously to attract, teach and train tomorrow’s health care leaders. We are committed to making sure every Arkansan has access to quality medical care. The Stout family’s generosity ensures that we will continue to do that far into the future.”

The Simmons scholarship is unique since it is the first time in UAMS history that a scholarship endowment will pay for a full year of tuition. The $1.5 million gift is invested, and the spendable earnings will generate the funds to cover the first year’s tuition for a freshman medical student every year.

“This is an amazing time for us as this endowment provides an additional tool to further the mission of the College of Medicine to continually recruit the best and the brightest for Arkansas,” said UAMS Executive Vice Chancellor and College of Medicine Dean Christopher T. Westfall, M.D.

R. Louise Stout, M.D., a 1949 College of Medicine graduate, passed away unexpectedly in 1970. Her father, Carl R. Stout, wanted his daughter’s love of medicine to be remembered, so he created a charitable remainder trust. When Carl Stout died in 1994, the trust provided income to his surviving daughter, Dorothy S. Aldridge, for her lifetime – with the College of Medicine named as the beneficiary of the remainder of the trust. Aldridge, a longtime supporter of UAMS, passed away January 30.

The College of Medicine has educated and trained more than 10,000 physicians since 1879, and has an annual enrollment of nearly 700 students. It is regularly listed in the top 10 nationwide for the percentage of its graduating class that pursue a career in family medicine. More than half of the practicing physicians in Arkansas are UAMS graduates.

More than two-thirds of Arkansas’ 75 counties include federally designated Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas. Primary care physician shortages are projected to increase substantially as the state’s population continues to age and require more medical care, and as more Arkansans seek primary care services.

The high cost of medical school and the burden of educational debt that most medical students face when entering their postgraduate residency training can be a factor in choosing higher-paying specialties instead of primary care and practicing in rural areas. The average medical school debt of recent UAMS graduates who have educational debt is about $190,000.

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 www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.