UAMS Names Ryan Cork, MSHA, Vice Chancellor of Northwest Region

By Yavonda Chase

He joins UAMS from the Northwest Arkansas Council in Bentonville, where he has served as the nonprofit’s executive director of health care transformation since 2021.

“Ryan has extensive experience in leadership and health care administration combined with knowledge about the unique health care needs and opportunities in Northwest Arkansas,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, UAMS chancellor and CEO of UAMS Health. “These qualities will be critical as UAMS continues to expand its academic, clinical and research work in this rapidly growing region.”

Cork has more than 20 years’ experience as a health care administrator, with stints at Cleveland Clinic, where his roles included serving as chief operating officer and institute administrator for international operations, and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and James Cancer Hospital, where he was administrator for the Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery. In addition, he has served on active duty with the United States Navy since 1994, most recently with the Navy Reserves Medical Service Corps.

He received a Master of Science in Human Services and Healthcare Administration from Capella University in Minneapolis in 2009. He also has earned certificates in leadership and management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University.

“I am excited to join the UAMS team. I am grateful for the opportunity and would like to thank Drs. Patterson and Gardner,” Cork said. “As we continue to expand access to specialty care, research and education, in Northwest Arkansas and across our state, I am honored to be a part of that expansion.”

As UAMS vice chancellor for Northwest Arkansas, Cork will direct and lead UAMS activities for the Northwest Arkansas region in collaboration with UAMS leadership including academic and research programs. He will also lead the development, growth and management of clinical and graduate medical education programs and provide leadership in strategic planning for the future of UAMS in Northwest Arkansas. He will also work closely with UAMS advisory board members and work collaboratively with local hospitals, community organizations and other stakeholders in the region.

“The Northwest Arkansas Council is grateful to Ryan for his years of service to improve health care in Northwest Arkansas,” said Nelson Peacock, Northwest Arkansas Council president and CEO. “Through his leadership of the Council’s Health Care Transformation Division, Ryan made meaningful impact by achieving regionwide collaboration toward tackling important issues such as graduate medical education, expansion of clinical services and specialty care, and COVID-19. “We wish him the best in his new role at UAMS and are confident that we will continue to work directly with Ryan and the UAMS team on critical health care issues.”

Additionally, Eric Leemis, MHA, assistant vice chancellor of financial operations on the Northwest Regional Campus, has been named assistant vice chancellor of financial operations and administration for the region.

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.