UAMS Receives 5-Year, Multimillion-Dollar Grant Renewal to Support Programs for Regional Campuses

By Chris Carmody

The Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency in the Department of Health and Human Services, provides the POSME grant with the goal of preparing a diverse, culturally competent primary care workforce prepared to deliver high-quality care to various populations in rural and underserved areas.

UAMS will receive about $1.15 million during the grant year that ends Aug. 31, with $1.15 million provided in equal share by UAMS. The university is projected to receive $11.5 million, with 50% provided by nongovernment funds, during the grant’s five-year term.

“This grant is crucial in supporting UAMS’ efforts to develop the health care workforce throughout our state, especially in rural and underserved communities,” said Richard Turnage, M.D., vice chancellor for Regional Campuses.

With the renewed funding, UAMS plans to broaden the promotion of health professions to students in Arkansas and increase awareness of various health careers, including physicians, physician assistants, nurses, sonographers, genetics counselors and behavioral health care providers.

The grant will also fund outreach programs that benefit hundreds of youths and health care students each year, providing exposure to health careers in rural areas. These initiatives include the Medical Applications of Science for Health (MASH) program, the Community Health Applied in Medical Public Service (CHAMPS) program, Pathways Academy and the AHEC Scholars program.

The POSME grant is part of the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) program, a federal initiative created in 1971 to recruit, train and retain health professionals in underserved areas. Arkansas’ AHEC program, now called UAMS Regional Campuses, was founded in 1973 to encourage UAMS medical school graduates to remain in the state, as well as to help address the state’s shortage and uneven distribution of primary care physicians.

“Through the years, these AHEC grants have been instrumental in allowing us to diversify our interprofessional faculty teams, solidify our long-term commitment to health career recruitment efforts, and enhance the quality of training opportunities for students across our Regional Campuses,” said Robin Howell, senior program manager for UAMS Regional Campuses.

Marcia Byers, Ph.D., RN, primary investigator for this grant and senior director for UAMS Regional Campuses, said the Arkansas program has reached more than 30,000 students over the last 50 years.

“This award allows for further engagement, through 2027, of high school, undergraduate and professional students who are interested in pursuing health professions,” Byers said. “We are extremely proud to continue to have a positive impact on our health care workforce.”

This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a five-year award totaling $11,540,000 with 50% financed with nongovernmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. government.

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.