Carter Family Commits $500,000 to Create Research-Focused Scholarship in UAMS College of Nursing

By Benjamin Waldrum

The scholarship will encourage Ph.D. nursing students, preferably Arkansas residents from underrepresented groups in the nursing profession, to prepare early in their career to conduct research. It will cover tuition and fees for one Ph.D. nursing student. Applicants must demonstrate high interest and potential for being a research scientist.

“We at the College of Nursing are incredibly thankful to the Carters for establishing this scholarship in honor of Dean Field, who fostered the careers of so many nurses and nurse practitioners,” said Patricia Cowan, Ph.D., RN, dean of the College of Nursing. “For our doctoral students to make changes in health care, they need to start their research careers earlier, and this scholarship will allow them to do that.”

“The real goal here is to prepare an emerging scientist who can answer some of the perplexing questions that face us as nurses when we care for patients,” Michael Carter said. “Research has to have the voice of nursing – the way we see the world, the way we see the patient.”

He said that typically to engage in a career of science, successful nursing Ph.D. students finish their degrees, enroll in postdoctoral programs, and then spend several more years building their research.

“Younger people don’t often see the path to do this,” he said. “We want to shine a flashlight on their path and say: we want you to push forward the frontiers of science, and we want you to not be encumbered by debt.”

Field was dean of the UAMS College of Nursing from 1965 to 1978 and developed the nurse practitioner program and the master’s program. Her vision was to prepare nurses for broad service, including in remote areas that had little access to medical care. She died in 2007.

Carter credits Field as a mentor who encouraged his pursuit of an advanced nursing education. Field was an inspirational professor, he said, who opened her home to him and other nursing students. She treated her students like family, all while expecting the best from each of them.

“Elois really believed that it was our obligation to return to the taxpayers of the state of Arkansas the gift they had allowed us to have, which is an education,” Carter said. “She argued that the role of the nurse was to be with the patient, regardless of setting and time. And she knew that the better the preparation of the nurse, the more they achieve.”

Carter received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Nursing in 1969 and 1973. He holds national certifications as both a family nurse practitioner and a geriatric nurse practitioner. From 1982 to 2000, he served as dean and professor at the College of Nursing, University of Tennessee Health Science Center and was named a distinguished professor emeritus in 2018. He is an adjunct clinical professor of geriatrics at the UAMS College of Medicine. In 2019, he received the College of Nursing’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Carter was an early nurse practitioner and a strong advocate for nurse practitioners with education at the doctoral level. He has worked with the Australian government to establish nursing practitioner roles and educational programs.

This gift represents a family commitment from Michael, Sarah and daughter Elizabeth Carter, J.D., LL.M.

Sarah Carter received her medical degree from the UAMS College of Medicine in 1965. She was one of only six women in her medical school class. She interned at Baptist Hospital in Little Rock and completed an internal medicine residency at UAMS and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. She was board certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. She spent the majority of her career treating patients at VA medical centers across the country. She served as chief of ambulatory care and chief of staff at the Memphis VA Medical Center and was associate dean at the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Elizabeth Carter is the A.N. Yiannopoulos Professor of Law and the Judge Anthony J. Graphia & Jo Ann Graphia Professor of Law at Louisiana State University. Her teaching and research interests are civil law, comparative law, estate planning, and tax.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight 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, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 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, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.