UAMS Names 11 New Northwest Arkansas Resident Physicians

By David Wise

The new residents are:

  • Irene Davis, D.O. – Hometown: Claremore, Okla.
  • Tony Hoyt, M.D. – Hometown: Rogers, Ark.
  • Hugo Lai, M.D. – Hometown: Des Plaines, Ill.
  • Aysam Mahmoud, M.D. – Hometown: West Palm Beach, Fla.
  • Joseph Malhis, D.O. – Hometown: Laguna Niguel, Calif.
  • Benjamin Martin, M.D. – Hometown: Little Rock, Ark.
  • Steven O’Brien, M.D. – Hometown: Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Leah Pittman, M.D. – Hometown: Fayetteville, Ark.
  • James Tullis, M.D. – Hometown: Mountain Home, Ark.
  • Rikhav Vasanwala, M.D. – Hometown: Rogers, Ark.
  • Kayla Williams, M.D. – Hometown: Morehead, Ky.

The new residents are part of the community internal medicine residency program in Northwest Arkansas, which is a partnership between the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus in Fayetteville, Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers and the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville. The program is based at the UAMS Northwest Campus, and the residents also do clinical rotations at Mercy and the VA Hospital.

“We only seek out the best and brightest candidates annually to join our residency program in Northwest Arkansas,” said Thomas Schulz, M.D., director of the residency program and associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UAMS Northwest Campus. “We are thrilled that these excellent physicians will be joining our ranks to provide quality health care for the people of Northwest Arkansas.”

Currently, 75 percent of the health care providers in Northwest Arkansas were trained at UAMS, and the three partners recently announced that the residency program is adding three annual residency slots this year after gaining approval from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Approval of the additional slots means the program can recruit 11 resident physicians annually, compared with eight annually since the program began in 2016. The three-year residency program, which includes 24 resident physicians, can grow to 33 by 2021 with the added slots.

“Our partnerships with Mercy and the VA Hospital are helping us train the next generation of health care leaders for the people of Arkansas,” said Pearl McElfish, vice chancellor of the UAMS Northwest Campus. “We are extremely proud of these partnerships because of the excellent learning environments that they provide. We also know that those who complete their training here are more likely to stay and work here. In fact, UAMS ranks third in the nation for retaining the health care providers we train, making UAMS a good investment for the health of Arkansas.”

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.