UAMS Medical Center, Five Faculty Honored as Healthcare Heroes

By Tim Taylor

It was the fourth year for the event, sponsored by the Arkansas Business Publishing Group and held at the Embassy Suites hotel in Little Rock.

UAMS Medical Center, the state’s only health sciences university, was named Large Hospital of the Year.

“We are incredibly honored by this recognition,” said Richard Turnage, M.D., UAMS vice chancellor for clinical programs and CEO of UAMS Medical Center. He thanked UAMS faculty “who have worked hard to develop a platform to deliver high-quality care” throughout the state.

Joseph Bates, M.D., a professor of epidemiology in the UAMS College of Public Health and former deputy director of the Arkansas Department of Health, received the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.

He is nationally known for his research in tuberculosis and as an advocate for public health. With 62 years of experience in health care, 40 of them at UAMS, Bates thanked the mentors who have worked with him over the years.

Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D., division chief of Breast Oncology in the Department of Surgery, was named Physician of the Year. Henry-Tillman holds numerous leadership positions at UAMS, including co-director of Health Initiatives and Disparities Research in the College of Medicine and is co-leader of the Breast Tumor Disease Oriented Committee in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. She also holds the Muriel Balsam Kohn Chair in Breast Surgical Oncology.

Henry-Tillman is a breast cancer surgeon and advocate for the medically underserved, as well as an advocate for screening, detection and treatment of colorectal, breast, prostate and cervical cancers.

Bradley Martin, Pharm.D., Ph.D., a professor in the College of Pharmacy and division head of Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy, was awarded Health Care Professional of the Year. His research includes working to deal with the widespread public health problem of opioid addiction.

Purushottam Thapa, M.D., medical director of the Student Wellness Program at UAMS, was  named Workplace Wellness Hero. He makes sure that counseling and therapy are provided to medical students, resident staff physicians and their spouses seeking help with emotional and mental health issues.

Lowry Barnes, M.D., M.D., chairman of the Orthopaedic Surgery Department and director of the Musculoskeletal Service Line, was named Healthcare Administrator of the Year. In addition to being one of the nation’s foremost joint replacement experts, his administrative leadership in building the UAMS Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has turned it into a program that attracts patients from across the country seeking to access world-class care.

Other finalists from UAMS were John Day, M.D., chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, for Physician of the Year; Terry Collins, RN, of the Trauma Center, for Nurse of the Year; Gloria Richard-Davis, M.D., a professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology, for Women’s Health & Wellness; and Hari Eswaran, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, for Innovation Hero.