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UAMS Unveils Dr. Joycelyn Elders Portrait, Launches Endowment Campaign

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Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the former U.S. surgeon general, has been honored with a portrait commissioned by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health Advisory Council. The portrait was unveiled in a ceremony April 7 at UAMS. “I love this school,” Elders said. “It made me who I am and allowed me to climb the ladder of success. I’ve watched it evolve from one building to what it is today, and I’m very proud.” The portrait by artist A.J. Smith will be displayed in the UAMS College of Medicine along with photographs and artifacts of Elders’ life.

At the ceremony, UAMS announced that it is establishing the M. Joycelyn Elders, M.D., Professorship in Health Promotion & Disease Prevention and aims to raise the endowment to the level of an endowed chair. “Quite simply, Dr. Joycelyn Elders is the most distinguished person to have ever been at this institution and will be remembered for all time for her remarkable achievements,” said Dr. Tom Bruce, inaugural dean of the Boozman College of Public Health.

Elders, a UAMS emeritus professor of pediatrics and distinguished professor of public health, was appointed U.S. surgeon general by President Bill Clinton and served from 1993-1994. She was the first African-American, second woman and first Arkansan appointed to the post. She served as director of the Arkansas Department of Health from 1987-93. During her tenure she nearly doubled childhood immunization rates, expanded the state’s prenatal care program and increased home-care options for the chronically and terminally ill.

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