Rhonda M. Dick, M.D., and Joseph Kennedy “Ken” Dick, MBA, to Establish Endowed Scholarship in UAMS College of Medicine

By Andrew Vogler

“We are profoundly grateful to Dr. Rhonda and Ken Dick for their generosity and dedication to young Arkansans, especially those from rural areas, who aspire to become physicians and continue their legacy of service in our state,” said Susan S. Smyth, M.D., Ph.D., UAMS executive vice chancellor and College of Medicine dean. “Scholarships are a powerful tool for recruiting promising students to UAMS and to careers in rural medicine, and this endowment will have a tremendous impact for generations to come.”

The scholarship will be awarded to a student enrolled in the College of Medicine who is a resident of Arkansas, with preference given to a student from or living in a rural area who demonstrates a financial need.

The Dicks created the scholarship in part to honor the memory of Dr. Herd Stone, in appreciation of his mentorship and compassionate care of the people of Monroe County, Arkansas.

The inspiration for the scholarship’s creation came from Rhonda Dick’s initial experience working in health care. She grew up in Holly Grove, Arkansas, and at age 17, began working in Stone’s medical clinic, curious if it would inspire her to pursue a career in nursing.

“After working for Dr. Stone for about six months, he called me into his office to discuss my career plans. He encouraged me to go to medical school. It was something I had never considered,” she said. “I had not been exposed to many potential career opportunities in our small, isolated rural community and there weren’t many women practicing medicine at that time. So it had never occurred to me as a possibility.”

Stone would continue his mentorship of Dick while she attended Hendrix College and later UAMS, graduating as part of the College of Medicine Class of 1981.

“Dr. Stone taught me some valuable lessons that I carried with me through medical school later in my medical practice,” Dick said. “He often took me on house calls in the evenings to some of the most rural parts of Monroe County to provide medical care to disadvantaged people who were unable to make the trip to his clinic. Although I didn’t realize this until many years later, he did this for a reason. He wanted me to understand the challenges that many of my future patients might be facing. Those lessons served me well throughout my career.

Inspired by Stone’s work as a general practitioner, the couple hope that the scholarship will allow a student to consider a profession in primary care.

“Considering the expense of medical school, it is understandable that many doctors feel that they need to become specialists in a field of medicine,” said Rhonda Dick. “We wouldn’t mind that this scholarship would allow a student to pursue a career in primary care, and we would love it if it was in a rural community in Arkansas.”

 The scholarship also honors the memory of Ferrill and Betty Martin, the parents of Rhonda Dick, and George Theodore Jr. and Charlotte Kennedy Dick, the parents of Ken Dick.

“Rhonda and I have been blessed with great lives and much of that is because of our respective parents,” said Ken Dick. “Growing up, we both received great support and love from our families, and it set us up to both have fulfilling careers.”

Rhonda Dick retired as the medical director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Arkansas Children’s in Little Rock in 2019. Ken Dick retired as an assistant director of fiscal services for the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research in 2006.

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 www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.