UAMS Names Cannady Director of New Wellness Program

By Spencer Watson

Cannady had been the manager of the UAMS Fitness Center since 2014.

Natalie Cannady

Natalie Cannady

“For almost five years Natalie has been helping hundreds of Fitness Center members make improvements to their health through exercise and advice,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA. “Now her efforts will encompass the entire institution. The new Wellness Program is intended to replace statistical measurements with individualized support for employees and students as they seek to improve their health and life balance.”

The Wellness Program is being developed based on the Get Healthy UAMS initiative, which launched in 2017 to promote a campus conducive to healthy living and working.

“Learning work-life balance is not something that is generally taught in school,” said Cannady. “We are taught from a young age to learn a profession, jump in and give it all we have until retirement. The part that is left out is how to manage your personal and professional life in a way that both sides can succeed and you are actually happy.

“My new role will be focusing on and addressing issues many of our employees and students face. We will be starting from the ground up building this new venture within UAMS. Instead of giving a single blanket answer to all situations, we will be looking at the different types of stresses that exist across the different professions, departments and colleges.”

Cannady said the program will extend beyond the main Little Rock campus.

“All of UAMS will be included; all sites, clinics, colleges and facilities will be looked at to address what we must do to make our employees and students feel whole and supported.”

Cannady holds a master’s in education in physical education from the University of Arkansas. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2005 with a bachelor’s in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise science and minor in nutrition.

Following her undergraduate education, Cannady served as the fitness coordinator for the Baptist Health Fitness Center for nine years. She joined UAMS in November 2014 to manage the UAMS Fitness Center.

Cannady said she will build successes one day at a time.

“I like to say, ‘start small, win big.’ Little changes in our day help manage stress – adding activity and making healthy food choices can help. We don’t have to make a bunch of changes all at once. We at UAMS will tackle it all, one piece at a time, and we will do it together.”

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.