College of Health Professions Finds Ardent Supporter in Judy Sims

By Yavonda Chase

An original member of the college’s Advisory Board, Sims has been advocating for the college since 2011 when she worked with then-Dean Douglas Murphy, Ph.D., to set up the board. She served as chair of the board in 2018 and is now the past chair.

Sims was familiar with UAMS and the college when her husband, Bobby, came home after hearing Murphy speak at a Sherwood Rotary Club meeting.

Judy Sims joined the CHP Advisory Board after her husband, Bobby, met then-Dean Douglas Murphy, Ph.D., at a Rotary Club meeting.

Judy Sims joined the CHP Advisory Board after her husband, Bobby, met then-Dean Douglas Murphy, Ph.D., at a Rotary Club meeting.

“Bobby told me, ‘You should have heard this man talk about the College of Health Professions. It sounds wonderful, and I told him about you because you were a dental hygienist.’”

Sims quickly found that she and Murphy had even more in common — they were both from San Antonio and shared a love for the city’s tamales. Before long, they had an agreement that whoever went to Texas brought tamales back for the other person.

“I became active with the college thanks to Rotary and tamales,” Sims said with a laugh.

Sims has seen a number of changes in the college during her tenure, including the name. In 2012, the college changed its name from the College of Health Related Professions.

“I have been fortunate to work with two wonderful deans in Dr. Murphy and Dr. Long,” said Sims. “I think we are just at the beginning stages on what this college will do. As health care continues to evolve, there are going to be more careers that the college will need to incorporate.”

Dean Susan Long, Ed.D., said Sims has been “an incredible asset” to the college.

“Her enthusiasm for the college and our mission is evident in everything she does,” said Long. “We are so fortunate to have Judy cheering us on in everything we do.”

Sims’ enthusiasm is infectious, said Drew Ramey, the advisory board’s current chair.

“Judy has such passion and exhibits the selfless qualities that define volunteerism,” he said. “She also brings a tenacity for moving the effort forward, resulting in the best, positive impact we can have on the students, faculty and staff.”

Judy Sims and Drew Ramey, both members of the college's advisory board, served as mentors to Sha'renee Hall, a Radiologic Imaging Sciences student.

Judy Sims and Drew Ramey, both members of the college’s advisory board, served as mentors to Sha’renee Hall, a Radiologic Imaging Sciences student.

Under Sims’ leadership, the CHP Advisory Board achieved 100 percent participation in the 2018 Day of Giving, besting the other college’s boards and receiving $5,000 from UAMS. Sims presented Long with an oversized check at the Scholarship Program in November.

“Our board set a goal of 100 percent participation, and I was so proud of us for achieving that,” said Sims. “It was an honor to win $5,000 for the college — money that I know will be put to good use.”

Sims and her husband have been a fixture at college events, even as her husband battled various illnesses, including cancer. Bobby Sims passed away Nov. 13, 2018.

“Bobby was sick for 14 years, but he made a commitment to go to church and to the college,” she said. “And he did. He came because it was important to him, and he knew how much it meant to me.”

Judy Sims said her husband also believed in the college’s students.

“He felt this college met the educational needs of individuals who sometimes didn’t have a chance to get an education,” said Sims, noting that he particularly believed the college helped mothers gain an education to care for their families. “With reasonable tuition and opportunities for good careers, the college opened doors for so many students.”

This year, Sims and Ramey, along with fellow board members Joey Price and Jenny Teeter mentored students who had received ArFuture scholarships. Sims and Ramey worked with Sha’renee Hall, a Radiologic Imaging Sciences student.

“For both of us, the mentoring experience has been impactful to have more direct interaction with a CHP student,” said Ramey. “It also is a reminder of the real life challenges students face while juggling responsibilities and furthering education.”

For Sims, these past eight years have been a labor of love — one that is nearing an end.

Board members can serve three terms, and as Sims puts it, she’s “run out of numbers.” Her service extended into 2019 only because of her role on the executive committee as past chair.

“I plan on remaining involved with the college,” Sims said. “It just means a lot to me. I don’t know what I’d do without it.”