The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has received $2.83 million in additional funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve health care access in rural Arkansas by expanding efforts to train and retain primary care physicians.
This award is for fiscal year 2021, which began in July. The project was awarded $4.6 million previously, to be spent over four years beginning in fiscal year 2020.
The Arkansas Medical Education Primary Care Partnerships project aims to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in rural areas and other medically underserved parts of the state by creating more opportunities for students to experience practice in those places through service projects, mentoring, a new Honors Program in Rural and Urban Underserved Primary Care and more.
It also includes specific efforts to create pipelines to medical education for minority students.
The project is a partnership of the UAMS College of Medicine, UAMS Regional Campuses across the state and the UAMS Department of Family & Preventive Medicine. The minority pipeline effort — the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) Med-Track Program — is a partnership of UAMS, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Philander Smith College.
Additional collaborators are the Community Health Centers of Arkansas and the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership.
“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, R-Arkansas, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a news release. “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.”
“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 Dr. Cam Patterson added. “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.”