UAMS Offers Statewide Summer Program for Arkansas High School Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors

By Spencer Watson

Registration for the UAMS “Find Your Future in Health Care” virtual program is open to all Arkansas high school students in grades 10-12 and ends April 2. Registration is available at or by contacting Yalanda Merrell at

“We want students in every corner of the state to learn more about careers in the medical field and where the needs are right here in Arkansas,” said Merrell, a recruiting specialist at the UAMS Northeast Regional Campus in Jonesboro. “Our goal is to recruit, educate and train a diverse group of students for the future for a better state of health.”

The three-day program will be offered twice, June 29-July 1 and July 13-15, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. Participants will not only get to meet and learn from professionals across a variety of careers in health care, but they’ll also get to take virtual tours through medical facilities and engage in interactive, hands-on activities. The program will provide all participants with a registration kit that includes the supplies needed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant barriers for our recruitments specialists, who have been unable to conduct their usual face-to-face activities such as A Day in the Life, Community Health Applied in Medical Public Service (CHAMPS), Medical Applications of Science for Health (M*A*S*H), and many other programs targeting young Arkansans, each of which help ensure a continuous, robust health care workforce,” said Marcia Byers, Ph.D., RN, program director. “The Find Your Future in Health Care events demonstrate our continued dedication to this mission and are the first of many activities that will be offered virtually, or through hybrid approaches, moving forward.”

“We want to reach students in a safe and effective way, so this program was created to allow students every opportunity to explore, experience and be educated about what a future in health care might be like,” added Merrell.

While part of the goal is to promote primary care, especially for rural and underserved areas, the program also seeks to introduce students to the idea of team-based care and to show them the variety of career options available in the field of health care.

“Certainly, Arkansas needs more primary care providers, and we want to encourage that, but there are many other specialties in medicine – and doctors never work alone in providing care. We want students to learn more about the many options available to them in this field,” said Merrell.

This initiative, led by Byers, is a collaborative effort between UAMS Regional Campuses and a federal HRSA grant, Arkansas AHEC Point of Service Maintenance/Enhancement Program. This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an annual award totaling $2,371,760 with 50 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

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.