UAMS Invests Paul H. Phillips, M.D., in the Pat Walker Chair in Ophthalmology

By Andrew Vogler

“I am thankful for the honor of the Pat Walker Chair in Ophthalmology, which supports the mission of education, research and clinical care at the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute,” said Phillips. “As I reflect on my career, I realize that visionary philanthropic support, exemplified by the generosity of Mrs. Pat Walker and the Pat and Willard Walker Foundation in their decades-long investment in the Jones Eye Institute, is instrumental in facilitating the advance of cutting-edge medicine, and I’ve observed this in all three components of the academic mission.”

Susan S. Smyth, Cam Patterson and Paul H. Phillips.

Paul H. Phillips, M.D., flanked by Susan S. Smyth, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice chancellor of UAMS and dean of the College of Medicine, and Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, UAMS chancellor and CEO of UAMS Health.Evan Lewis

Phillips, who joined UAMS in 1997, is professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and the director of the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute. He served as chief of pediatric ophthalmology at Arkansas Children’s Hospital from 2006 to 2020 and as director of the Ophthalmology Residency Program from 2015 to 2020. In 2009, he became the inaugural holder of the Stella Boyle Smith/Gissur J. Petursson, M.D., Chair in Ophthalmology, in which John David Pemberton, D.O., MBA, was invested during the May 17 ceremony.

Ahmed A. Sallam, M.D., Ph.D., also was recognized during the ceremony as the holder of the John W. Nutt Chair in Ophthalmology.

An endowed chair is among the highest academic honors a university can bestow on a faculty member. A chair is established with gifts of at least $1 million, which are invested and the interest proceeds used to support the educational, research and clinical activities of the chair holder. Those named to a chair are among the most highly regarded scientists, physicians and professors in their fields.

“Endowed chairs are the highest and most distinguished honor that we can grant to our faculty,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, UAMS chancellor and CEO of UAMS Health. “They represent the triple threat excellence in clinical care, education and research, and the people that we’re honoring today fit that bill splendidly.”

“Dr. Phillips provides fabulous leadership for our clinical, educational and research programs in ophthalmology and the world-class care that patients receive in the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute,” said Susan S. Smyth, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice chancellor of UAMS and dean of the College of Medicine. “As his faculty and residents know, his personal motto and email sign-off is ‘Available eight days a week and on a hard day’s night.’ That riff on Beatles’ tunes is a pretty good description of Paul.”

In addition to the honor of being named chair holder, Phillips received a commemorative medallion and an inscribed wooden chair.

A native of New York, Phillips graduated summa cum laude from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo. After interning in Hartford, Connecticut, he completed an ophthalmology residency at the University of Florida Eye Center in Gainesville. Phillips completed a fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus at the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He also completed a fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at the Emory University Eye Center in Atlanta. His subspecialties include pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, and neuro-ophthalmology. He has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and presented at more than 100 international meetings.

At UAMS, he was director of the pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus service prior to assuming his current role as department chair. He was senior associate editor for the Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus from 2012 to 2022, and served as director of the Consortium for Pediatric Neuro-Ophthalmology from 2018 to 2020. Phillips has been certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology since 1995. He is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and numerous other organizations.

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.