UAMS Accepting Applications for New Health Career Program for High School Seniors in Delta, South Arkansas

By Chris Carmody

Open to rising high school seniors, HCOP Academy will equip students with the skills they need to gain admission to and succeed in health professional programs.

The academy focuses on expanding the workforce in a variety of health care disciplines, including sonography, dietetics, health administration, medical lab technology, mental and behavioral health, occupational and physical therapy, physician assistant studies, public health, radiography and respiratory therapy.

The program will begin with a residential summer academy from June 17 to July 26 at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Students will gain exposure to high-demand careers in health care, tour the UAMS campus in Little Rock and the UAMS South Central Regional Campus in Pine Bluff, prepare for their ACT exams, and receive instruction in math, science and writing. They’ll also engage in fun activities that foster team building and leadership.

Representatives from colleges and universities in the Delta region will speak about their health-career programs and admission requirements.

To stay engaged with its members during the 2024-25 school year, HCOP Academy will offer monthly workshops and opportunities to meet with student mentors from UAMS and its academic partner institutions. And in 2025, participants will attend a summer academy that prepares them for their postsecondary education.

Applicants must demonstrate an interest in pursuing a health career and must be enrolled at a school in the program’s 20-county service area. Those counties are Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Cleveland, Columbia, Crittenden, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Jefferson, Lee, Lincoln, Monroe, Ouachita, Phillips, Sevier, St. Francis and Union.

The deadline to submit applications is April 30. For parents and students who are interested in learning more about the program, HCOP Academy will host a series of virtual informational sessions at 6 p.m. April 17, 18 and 25. To sign up for a session or to apply for the academy, visit

The new academy is operated by the UAMS Division for Academic Pathways and Workforce Partnerships with the assistance of UAMS and community collaborators. Brian Gittens, vice chancellor for academic pathways and workforce partnerships, said the program aims to fill some of the chronic and pervasive gaps in the Delta’s health care workforce.

“HCOP Academy will serve as a steppingstone for students who aspire to enter the health care field and make a difference in their communities,” he said.

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.