Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas and UAMS Celebrate the Grand Opening of the Ronald McDonald Family Room to Help NICU Families

By News Staff

The celebration marks the end of a four-month construction process by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas (RMHCA) that converted space on the fifth floor of UAMS Medical Center into the Ronald McDonald Family Room at UAMS. The new 2,000-square-foot space will be staffed and operated by RMHCA and will feature four overnight rooms for parents and siblings of patients in the NICU and a common area for day use by all NICU families.

UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, participates in the Hospital Lobby Gallery ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the new Ronald McDonald Family Room.

From left: Andrew Norman, senior project manager from Nabholz; Becky Sartini, assistant director of nursing for the UAMS Women and Infants Service Line; Sam Baxter, chairman of the board of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas; UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson; Janell Mason, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas, Wesley Walls of Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects and Sara Peeples, medical director of the UAMS NICU.

“The Ronald McDonald Family Room is a great extension of RMHCA’s mission that has been serving families with critically ill children for the past 39 years,” said RMHCA Board Chair Sam Baxter. “Thanks to this partnership with UAMS, families with babies in the NICU will now be able to stay together and be more involved throughout their baby’s hospitalization.”

UAMS serves families from across Arkansas, and babies often stay in the NICU for weeks or months. While parents have been able to stay with their babies in their room, the NICU has not been able to accommodate overnight stays by families with older children. The neonatal unit has 58 patient rooms and can serve up to 64 patients at a time. Through this collaboration, more than 1,000 families with children in the UAMS NICU will be served each year.

“The new Ronald McDonald Family Room will help siblings feel at home and provide comfort and respite, a place to connect with other families,” said Sara Peeples, M.D., medical director of the UAMS NICU. “We are grateful to Ronald McDonald Charities of Arkansas for providing needed support for our families.”

Major donors include Windgate Charitable Foundation, Susie and Charles Morgan, RMHC Global, The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, Clark Family Foundation Inc., Jeanne Andrews, the Sunderland Foundation, RMHCA Board of Directors, local McDonald’s owners, the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation, Windstream, The Trinity Foundation, Nabholz Charitable Foundation, Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, and Tarkett. To donate or for more information, contact Emily Piechocki, RMHCA development director, at

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas is a locally funded and operated non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of children and their families by creating and supporting programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Since 1981, RMHCA has served more than 38,000 families at the Ronald McDonald House, and more than 7,000 children have received free dental treatment on the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. The Ronald McDonald Family Room at UAMS is expected to serve over 1,000 families each year. For more information, visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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 named UAMS Medical Center the state’s Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five 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 Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.