UAMS Pathways Academy Partners With Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas

By Chris Carmody

Under the partnership, BBBSCA is providing sessions during which Pathways students will learn the meaning of mentorship and how to identify mentors in their own lives. The sessions will run through the 2022-23 academic year.

“We’re very excited to get started with this mentorship service and watch as it helps change the lives of our scholars,” said Shanea Nelson, Ph.D., executive director of Pathways Academy.

The partnership will benefit Pathways participants in Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Hot Springs. One of the initiative’s goals is to match each student with a mentor.

“We are truly excited about this partnership,” said Brian Gittens, Ed.D., MPA, vice chancellor of the UAMS Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “Mentorship, along with academic preparation, are key ingredients to success of our youth. The BBBSCA is a natural partner to provide effective mentorship for our Pathways scholars.”

“BBBSCA is proud to bring our small-group mentoring services to UAMS’ Pathways Academy,” said Raymond Long, chief executive officer of the nonprofit organization. “We are excited to play a part in diversifying the health care workforce in Arkansas. This partnership aligns with my vision to show Central Arkansas that mentoring should be a foundational aspect of any youth development program. We look forward to connecting Pathways scholars with group mentoring sessions to reinforce the critical thinking, problem-solving and leadership skills they will gain by participating in this innovative program.”

Pathways Academy is an educational and community engagement program focused on preparing underrepresented and low-income K-12 students for opportunities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health sciences (STEM-H) disciplines. It aims to increase the number of students from those groups who pursue medical, health or scientific careers.

“This is such a natural partnership — BBBSCA’s mentorship-training know-how paired with UAMS’ program-delivery expertise, all to the benefit of building a diverse health care workforce,” said Wendy Ward, Ph.D., UAMS associate provost for academic affairs and the board president for BBBSCA.

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.