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Distinguished Professorship Becomes $1M Endowed Chair

2 min read

The Peter O. Kohler M.D. Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Health Disparities has been elevated to the endowed chair level at the Northwest Regional Campus of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

An endowed chair is established with $1 million or more, while a distinguished professorship is established with a $500,000. An endowed chair is also among the highest academic honors a university can bestow on a faculty member.

The additional funds came from endowment investments, a donation from the Faculty Group Practice matching fund and a second donation by Kohler.

The current chairholder is Dr. Sheldon Riklon. He is researching and treating health disparities among the Marshallese and Pacific Islander population in northwest Arkansas.

Riklon is one of only two Marshallese physicians in the world who has completed medical school and residency training from U.S.-accredited programs, according to a news release.

He joined UAMS in 2016 as an associate professor in the College of Medicine’s Department of Family & Preventive Medicine. Before that, he served as an assistant professor and as the family medicine clerkship director in the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health in the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of HawaiÊ»i at Mānoa.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of HawaiÊ»i at Hilo and his medical degree from the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Riklon was the inaugural holder of the professorship after it was established in 2016 by a gift from Dr. Kohler, former vice chancellor for the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus. Since his retirement, Kohler, a distinguished professor in the College of Medicine Department of Internal Medicine, has continued to conduct clinical research in the Center for Pacific Islander Health in Fayetteville.

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