UAMS Celebrates 20 Years of the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education

By David Wise

Held at the center at 2422 N. Thompson St., the event drew members of UAMS leadership and staff, Schmieding Foundation Inc. president Gilda Underwood and vice president Lance Taylor, community leaders, and members of the UAMS Foundation Fund Board.

“UAMS is extremely proud to have been chosen by Mr. Schmieding to carry on his work,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D. “As the state’s only academic health sciences university, we share the vision of Mr. Schmieding and the Schmieding Foundation of improving the life of all Arkansans. The UAMS Schmieding Center continues to lead the way in senior health and education for the rest of the country.”

The Schmieding Center was established Jan. 1, 1999, when Lawrence H. Schmieding gave UAMS more than $15 million to operate health and education programs for the seniors of Northwest Arkansas and to train home caregivers so older Arkansans could age at home.

Lawrence Schmieding, who died in 2009, made the gift after searching in vain for qualified home caregivers for his aging brother, Bert. The center became the first regional Center on Aging of the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, which is directed by Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D.

“The Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education has served as a model to open six other Centers on Aging throughout the state,” Wei said. “Our mission is to improve health outcomes of older Arkansans through innovative education programs, clinical care and home caregiver training to keep seniors happy and in their own homes. In Mr. Schmieding’s words, ‘Where there’s home, there’s hope.’”

Since 1999, the Schmieding Foundation has invested about $31 million in the Schmieding Center, including building costs, maintenance and educational programs. In January, the Schmieding Foundation donated the $4.85 million building to the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas for the benefit of UAMS.

Patterson read a letter from Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson commemorating the legacy of Lawrence Schmieding. The letter was then presented to Schmieding Foundation President Gilda Underwood.

The letter read in part, “Lawrence Schmieding has left a compelling legacy of enriching the lives and heath of older adults through empowerment, understanding and home caregiver education. Mr. Schmieding will be remembered for his compassionate and lifelong commitment to provide an excellent quality of life for seniors and their families.”

The Schmieding Center addresses the needs of seniors through a senior health clinic, social and physical activities such as watercolor workshops and Tai Chi and yoga classes, family caregiver workshops and support groups, health professional continuing education, home caregiver training, Alzheimer/dementia classes, certified nursing assistant training and social work student fellowship experiences.

“Over the last 20 years, countless people have come through these doors to take part in the wonderful senior health and education programs or receive home caregiver training,” said Pearl McElfish, Ph.D., vice chancellor for the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus. “This is all part of Mr. Schmieding’s vision for an excellent quality of life for seniors and their families. Because of Mr. Schmieding’s vision, the Schmieding Center will forever provide high-quality educational programs for health professionals, paraprofessionals and the community.”

UAMS Schmieding Appreciation Event

Current and former employees of the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education

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.