Twelve Programs Receive Grants from UAMS Chancellor’s Circle

By Benjamin Waldrum

The funds awarded match the record set last year by the Chancellor’s Circle, which provides funds to support key mission areas in health care education, research and patient care.

A record-tying $100,000 grant was awarded to support culinary medicine curriculum and an in-house food pantry. Tanya Johnson, at left, and Gloria Richard-Davis, M.D., accepted the grant.

A record-tying $100,000 grant was awarded to support culinary medicine curriculum and an in-house food pantry. Tanya Johnson, at left, and Gloria Richard-Davis, M.D., accepted the grant.

Since the inception of the awards in 2014, the Chancellor’s Circle has awarded more than $1.9 million from discretionary funds to nearly 70 programs. The Chancellor’s Circle was created in 1984 by the UAMS Foundation Fund Board and has raised more than $9 million to support UAMS’ mission.

Patterson thanked Chancellor’s Circle members for their contributions and presented oversized novelty checks to each recipient, thanking them for their programs’ contributions to UAMS.

“These awards allow us to do things that don’t necessarily fit into other buckets and that are often overlooked,” Patterson said. “The ability to give someone funding so that they can start a novel research project, or advance our clinical mission, or make our patients safer or more comfortable, this is really important stuff.”

The following 12 programs were chosen to receive grants:

  • UAMS Medical Center and Integrated Clinical Enterprise to secure two lactation pods for nursing mothers. Nirvana Manning, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, accepted the $50,000 grant.
  • Wellness Program to promote wellness for UAMS employees and students through various programs to improve health and well-being. Natalie Cannady, director of wellness, and Leslie Taylor, vice chancellor for Communications & Marketing and a Chancellor’s Circle member, accepted the $20,000 grant.
  • Mindfulness Program to continue free, drop-in, guided mindfulness sessions twice a week for UAMS residents. Puru Thapa, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology, accepted the $25,000 grant.
  • UAMS Child Development Center to facilitate creation of a child care facility to support UAMS staff and faculty. Jeannette Shorey, M.D., associate provost for faculty, and Meredith Garner, director of development for the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, accepted the $40,000 grant.
  • Institute for Digital Health & Innovation to provide digital monitoring software and technology to patients for live video consultations with physicians, and to collect health care data from patients continuously to reduce the need for office visits. Curtis Lowery, M.D., director of the institute, accepted the $20,000 grant.
  • Center for Diversity Affairs to continue its Academy for Pre-Health Scholars summer program for high school students with strong interests in health care. Nick Pettus, director of the program, accepted the $15,000 grant.
  • UAMS Day of Giving, a 24-hour event celebrating the institution’s commitment to better health, which in two years has raised more than $900,000 to support dozens of programs across the institution. Amanda May, director of annual giving, accepted the $30,000 grant as a challenge gift in anticipation of this year’s event.
  • Regional Campuses to replace and install new screening cameras in all eight Regional Campuses across the state for early detection of vision problems in diabetic patients. Mark Jansen, M.D., medical director for Regional Campuses, accepted the $20,000 grant.
  • 12th Street Health & Wellness Center to support the free clinic, run by students under supervision of faculty and other licensed volunteers as both a learning opportunity and an avenue for better health in the surrounding community. Melissa Clark, Pharm.D., M.P.H., and Sarah Beth Theriot, executive director for the Student Board of Directors, accepted the $40,000 grant.
  • Culinary Medicine Curriculum and Food Pantry to adapt a culinary medicine curriculum for UAMS students and to develop an in-house food pantry for employees and students who struggle with food insecurity. Gloria Richard-Davis, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Tanya Johnson, director of Nutrition and Food Services, accepted the $100,000 grant, tying the record for largest grant to date.
  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program to create a sexual assault nurse examiner program to provide specialized care, compassion and forensic support for victims of sexual violence. Melissa Easdon, director of the Emergency Department, accepted the $25,000 grant.
  • North Street Clinic to support the free clinic, led by students that offers health screenings and diabetes assessment and treatment to Marshallese patients in Northwest Arkansas. Sheldon Riklon, M.D., associate professor in the College of Medicine at the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus, and Jonell Hudson, Pharm.D., director of the North Street Clinic, accepted the $40,000 grant.

The Chancellor’s Circle, established by the UAMS Foundation Fund Board, recognizes those donors who support programs at UAMS through annual unrestricted contributions. More than 300 household and corporate members make up the Chancellor’s Circle. To learn more about the Chancellor’s Circle, visit