Pearl McElfish has been promoted to vice chancellor of the Northwest Arkansas regional campus of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Fayetteville. McElfish has been serving as associate vice chancellor since Peter Kohler retired as vice chancellor in 2016.
As vice chancellor, McElfish will lead all campus-wide efforts, according to a news release, provide leadership to ensure coordination across all UAMS programs in the region and work closely with area partners.
“Pearl McElfish has certainly proven herself worthy of this position over the last few years as associate vice chancellor,” UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson said in the release. “She is a visionary leader, and we are extremely fortunate to have her leading our efforts to take health care in Northwest Arkansas to new heights. I am confident that she will continue to provide the stellar level of leadership we have seen in her other roles with UAMS.”
McElfish joined UAMS in 2010 as the study director of the National Children’s Study for the Department of Pediatrics. In 2012, she was named the founding director of the Office of Community Health and Research. In 2015, she founded the Center for Pacific Islander Health, the first center in the United States that focuses solely on Pacific Islander health issues.
Prior to joining UAMS, McElfish worked for various community health organizations, improving efficiency and quality of care and developing strong, sustainability research and community health programs.
She holds a doctorate of philosophy in public policy from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, a master’s degree in community and economic development from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, a master’s degree in business administration from John Brown University in Siloam Springs and a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.
“I am honored to be given the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” McElfish said in the release. “Since being established in 2007, the UAMS Northwest Arkansas regional campus has been instrumental in meeting the growing demand for health care professionals in this region, and I am excited to be part of such a vital effort. And as the region continues to grow, we look forward to expanding our efforts to meet the health care needs of our community.”
UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; Northwest Arkansas regional campus; statewide network of regional centers; and six institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and Translational Research Institute.
It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,727 students, 822 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses throughout the state, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health.