UAMS Invests Tracie C. Harrison, Ph.D., RN, in Alice An-Loh Sun Chair in Geriatric Nursing

By Andrew Vogler

“It is my pleasure to be at UAMS, and I am more than proud to be in Arkansas,” said Harrison. “One of the reasons why I’m here is because of the encouragement of Dr. Claudia Beverly and the belief in the work that I am doing. I’m certain we are going to solve some problems, and we are going to do great work.”

Building on more than 25 years of professional nursing experience as a bedside and community clinician, practitioner, educator and researcher, Harrison is an expert on aging with mobility and sensory limitations among diverse and vulnerable populations. Harrison joined UAMS in May.

Corey Nagel

Corey Nagel, Ph.D., MPH, RN, presents to attendees.Evan Lewis

“On behalf of my colleagues in the College of Nursing, I want to express just how pleased we are that Tracie Harrison has joined our ranks and offer her our congratulations for being named to the Alice An-Loh Sun Chair in Geriatric Nursing,” said Corey Nagel, Ph.D., MPH, RN, assistant professor in the College of Nursing and co-director of the UAMS Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence. “She is highly accomplished in both the scientific and health policy arenas, and her ongoing work on aging and disability will enrich both our college and the broader university.”

Harrison is the inaugural recipient of the endowed chair, which previously was an endowed professorship held by Pao-Feng Tsai, Ph.D., RN.

An endowed chair is among the highest academic honors a university can bestow on a faculty member. An endowed 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.

“The medallion that Tracie Harrison will receive represents three incredibly important relationships — the relationship between the donor and institution, the one between the institution and the recipient, and the scholarship that has been supported by the chair and the scholarship that will be established in the future,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, UAMS chancellor and CEO of UAMS Health. “Endowed chairs are the highest honor that a faculty member can receive, and I want to congratulate Dr. Harrison on a well-deserved recognition.”

The chair is named in honor of Alice An-Loh Sun who was born in Nanking, China, where she graduated from the Chin Lin School of Nursing. Her husband, C.N. Sun, M.D., was a longtime professor of pathology at UAMS and the Central Arkansas Veteran’s Healthcare System. She dedicated 53 years to the nursing profession before retiring in 1979. The Alice An-Loh Sun Professorship in Geriatric Nursing was endowed just prior to her death in 2002.

“In part, this ceremony is an opportunity to thank the donors who made this endowed chair possible,” said Patricia A. Cowan, Ph.D., RN, dean of the UAMS College of Nursing. “It is also an occasion to honor the legacy of Alice An-Loh Sun who dedicated many years of her life to the nursing profession.”

Harrison received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing as well as a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from the University of Texas at Austin, and her Master of Science in

Tracie C. Harrison

Tracie C. Harrison, Ph.D., RN, addresses guests at her investiture.Evan Lewis

Nursing from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. She completed pre- and postdoctoral awards from the John A. Hartford Foundation, a predoctoral award from the Donald D. Harrington Fellows Program and a predoctoral award from the National Institute of Health (NIH) through an institutional National Research Service Award in women’s health. She has also received significant research funding from the NIH, Texas Health and Human Services, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Civil Money Penalties, and the Aetna Foundation.

Harrison has more than 70 publications on how severe, permanent limitations impact people’s lives. She has had considerable involvement in policy analysis and made recommendations at the state and federal levels on functional and sensory change with age. She has completed multiple studies, including a four-year ethnographic study of Mexican American women, an embedded randomized control trial on music compared to narratives and stories with people with dementia in 13 nursing facilities, and a study on embedded advanced practice nurses in five nursing homes. Most recently she completed a cross-national study on aging and mobility over the lifetime of older adults in three states in central Mexico. She is the founding director of the Center for Excellence in Aging Services and Long-Term Care at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing.

“Looking over all her accomplishments, it is easy to see that Dr. Harrison is a giant in her field, but what sets her apart from others is that she really cares about the people she treats and studies,” said Jacqueline L. Angel, Ph.D., the Wilbur J. Cohen Professor of Health and Social Policy and professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. “Congratulations, Tracie. I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition.”

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 seven 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 and Institute for Digital 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.