Arkansas Farm Bureau Pledges $500,000 to Support UAMS’ Statewide Health Career Recruitment, Education Efforts

By Andrew Vogler

Continuing its commitment to invest in the future of Arkansas’ health care system, Arkansas Farm Bureau established the fund to support health career recruitment and education camps such as MASH.

“Arkansas Farm Bureau Foundation’s gift is proof of its steadfast commitment to health care in Arkansas, and we are truly grateful that we can count on them as partners,” said Richard Turnage, M.D., vice chancellor for UAMS Regional Campuses. “I would also like to acknowledge Arkansas Farm Bureau’s longtime support of programs like MASH, which are integral pieces in the Regional Campuses’ pipeline-to-practice strategy in creating the state’s next generation of health care professionals.”

Arkansas Farm Bureau has a long history of supporting health career recruitment and education, helping to address the shortage of health care professionals throughout the state, particularly in rural areas. For more than 35 years, Arkansas Farm Bureau has given in support of programs like MASH, and the newly created fund will further its support of Arkansas students.

“There is no greater measure of the health and vitality of our state than the quality of health care available to our residents,” said Rich Hillman, president of Arkansas Farm Bureau and a sixth-generation farmer. “At Farm Bureau, we believe access to quality health care should not depend on whether a person lives in an urban area or a rural community. The need for high quality medical services is critical to the strength of our rural communities.”

MASH was piloted in Pine Bluff in 1988 and has since expanded to 34 locations across Arkansas and been replicated in other states. Hosted by one of UAMS’ Regional Campuses and/or a community partner, this two-week summer camp introduces about 600 students entering grades 11 and 12 to health care careers through hands-on activities and exposure to physicians, nurses, physician assistants, medical and radiologic technologists, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and dieticians. Students learn how professions function individually and as part of a team, and how the fundamentals of anatomy, biology, pharmacology and physiology apply to each discipline.

MASH’s success inspired the creation of further camps such as Mini MASH, Community Health Applied in Medical Public Service (CHAMPS) and Find Your Future in Healthcare, which will also be supported by Arkansas Farm Bureau’s gift.

“For 30 years, we have helped underwrite camps at locations throughout Arkansas, which are designed to expose students to health care professions,” said Hillman. “This commitment will grow that mission further and improve rural health care, which means Arkansas’ communities are strengthened.”

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.