UAMS Receives $900k Federal Grant to Train Primary Care Physicians

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences announced Tuesday that it has received a $900,000 federal grant to train more primary care physicians.

The grant will fund a training program for resident physicians at UAMS' regional center in Fort Smith, according to a news release. It will pay for the addition of two new resident physicians and continued funding for four others that have been added over the past two years.

In addition to residents' salaries and benefits, the grant will cover other costs related to the training program. UAMS has received federal funding for the program for the past two years.

"We're very pleased to have the opportunity to have these additional residents in our training program," said Don Heard, director of UAMS West in Fort Smith. "We believe it immediately will benefit health care in western Arkansas and provide more doctors in Arkansas in the near future. Historically, about two-thirds of the physicians who finish their residencies here remain to practice medicine in the state and region."

The addition of two more residents will bring the program's total to 30, the most in the program since it was created in the mid-1970s, Heard said.

The grant is part of the Affordable Care Act's national Teaching Health Center Program which expands residency training in "community-based settings." Residents are trained in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, geriatrics and general dentistry, according to the release.

The national program is providing $83.4 million in funding to 60 teaching health centers like UAMS West across the U.S.