The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has provided $2.83 million in funding to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) for expanding efforts to train and retain primary care physicians in rural Arkansas.
This grant will support the Arkansas Medical Education Primary Care Partnerships program, which is designed to increase the number of primary care physicians serving rural and underserved regions of Arkansas, as well as create pipelines to medical school for minority students. The grant will be for fiscal year 2021 and will build on a $4.6 million grant that was previously awarded.
“At UAMS, it’s part of our mission to improve the health of all Arkansans, and one way we are working to meet that goal is by recruiting and training a diverse group of future health care professionals from across the state,” UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, said in a statement. “It’s a big job that we cannot do alone, making programs like these built on community partnerships all the more important. Together, we are ensuring a healthier future by laying the groundwork today.”
Multiple UAMS programs are participating in the Arkansas Medical Education Primary Care Partnerships initiative. These include the UAMS College of Medicine, UAMS Regional Campuses across the state, and the UAMS Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, as well as the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Philander Smith College.
The UAPB and Philander Smith partnership is targeting students in Historically Black Colleges and Universities who are seeking degrees in medicine and health care. Currently, there are 35 students at UAPB and 21 students from Philander Smith College who are participating in the HBCU Med Track Program.
“The number of available physicians per population in the Natural State is among the lowest in the nation and providers of all specialties are facing a serious shortfall, especially in Arkansas’ rural communities,” U.S. Sen. John Boozman said. “Our current public health emergency puts an emphasis on the need to overcome this shortage. The funds from this award will help more UAMS students prepare for residencies in Arkansas, keeping more top talent in our state and helping to close the gap on the doctor shortage in Arkansas.”