Senator Mark Pryor Honored With Bumpers Leadership Award

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 132 views 

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor (D) today (April 2) was awarded the Dale Bumpers AHEC (Area Health Education Center) Leadership Award for his efforts to sustain federal funding for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) AHEC Program, which trains medical residents and provides clinical care and health education services around the state.

The award ceremony was attended by Pryor and Bumpers, who was Arkansas’ governor from 1971-1974 and served as U.S. senator from 1975-1998. As governor, Bumpers led successful efforts to address health care issues in the state, including the establishment of the AHEC Program in 1973. As senator, he supported federal AHEC Program efforts and helped secure federal funding that allowed expansion of the Arkansas program. UAMS now operates eight AHECs around the state.

Pryor, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002, was selected for the Bumpers Leadership Award by the UAMS Regional Programs Advisory Council, which includes the chairs and co-chairs from each of UAMS’ eight AHECs in Arkansas.

“Senator Pryor and his staff have really shown a commitment to the AHEC Program,” said Mark Mengel, M.D., M.P.H., vice chancellor of Regional Programs and executive director of the AHEC Program. “Senator Pryor twice pushed through waivers that allowed the AHEC Program to qualify for federal funding. If he hadn’t done that, we would not have received federal funding the last two years.”

The UAMS AHEC Program receives about $600,000 a year in federal funding. While 25 percent supports its central administrative functions, 75 percent supports new programs at the six AHECs with medical residency training programs for family medicine physicians. Those AHECs are in El Dorado, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Pine Bluff and Texarkana.

The Bumpers AHEC Leadership Award was last presented in 2008 to Stephanie Gardner, Ed.D., Pharm.D., who is dean of the UAMS College of Pharmacy.