UAMS Medical Student Accepted for Prestigious NIH Fellowship

By Linda Satter

It is only the second time in a decade that a UAMS student has been accepted into the Medical Research Scholars Program, which serves as a fellowship and places students in NIH laboratories and patient care areas to conduct basic, translational or clinical research in areas that match their career interests.

Belue, 24, is a Fort Smith native. He says his participation in the highly competitive program will move the anticipated date of obtaining his medical degree from 2023 to 2024, but the delay is well worth it.

“My ultimate career goal is being a clinician-scientist at the NIH, the largest hospital fully dedicated to research in the world,” he said. “It’s really exciting to have that as my career goal and to get my foot in the door.”

The NIH, he said, “is truly like a playground when it comes to the opportunities.”

Clinician-scientists, who see patients and use their experiences to inform research, are “right in the middle of scientific discovery,” Belue said, noting that patients at the NIH include those with the rarest and most-complicated disorders who benefit from the latest therapies and procedures.

“This is a very competitive program,” said James Graham, M.D., executive associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Medicine at UAMS. “I am very proud of Mason for applying and having been selected for this prestigious program.”

“The NIH Medical Research Scholars Program attracts the brightest talent from across the country. These scholars are the future leaders in American medicine,” said Thomas R. Burklow, M.D., director of the program.

Belue earned his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and is an executive member of the Student National Medical Association at UAMS.

In addition to a rigorous research agenda, scholars in the MRSP program attend lectures, seminars, clinical teaching rounds and other courses, and highlight their research in formal presentations to the NIH community and at professional conferences.


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.