Employee at UAMS East Regional Campus Earns MVP Award for Compassion, Good Deeds

By David Robinson

TRI’s Sharon Martin receives UAMS MVP of Month Award from Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA.

TRI’s Sharon Martin receives UAMS MVP of Month Award from Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA.

As part of her UAMS job, Martin talks to many Arkansans who are struggling, but the recent call with an elderly Little Rock woman was different.

Based at the UAMS East Regional Campus, Martin works as a research coordinator for the UAMS Rural Research Network within the Translational Research Institute. On Nov. 4, she was calling prospects about a diabetes study when she reached a woman who said she and her two dogs were freezing and began to cry.

The woman, who declined to be identified publicly, also said she was without insulin for her diabetes, that her home’s gas had been shut off due to a leak she could not afford to fix, and that she was hungry, with no way to cook or heat food. She was also grieving, having recently lost her husband and mother.

“I run across many people to help, but this one really tugged at my heartstrings, and she was in an unsafe situation,” Martin said.

Martin immediately marshalled her personal contacts in central Arkansas. A friend helped get the woman’s insulin supply restored at a low monthly cost; one of Martin’s many former foster children who lives in central Arkansas provided food, a microwave, and a space heater on rollers while a local contractor fixed the woman’s gas leak at no cost.

Martin has traveled to Little Rock twice to see the woman and continues to check on her twice a week by phone.

Martin’s actions did not go unnoticed; she got a surprise visit Thursday from Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, who presented her with the UAMS MVP Award.

Becky Hall, Ed.D., center director at the UAMS East Regional Campus, said Martin’s big heart is no surprise to her.

“She is one of the very most caring, loving, and action-oriented people I have ever met,” Hall said. “She always puts the needs of others before her own, many times spending her hard-earned money to help someone in need.”

Hall said Martin also identified a single dad of a young girl who did not have any food in his house.

“We helped gather food, and Sharon rallied our staff to pitch in to buy his little girl a coat, several outfits, shoes, a backpack and toiletries,” Hall said. “She is an amazing lady.”

“Compassion is a core value of UAMS and its employees,” Patterson said in his announcement about Martin. “Thank you, Sharon, for putting such heart into your work and caring for others like you do.”