Forty Under 40: Betsy O’Connor

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,865 views 

Class of 2022 Forty Under 40 Betsy O'Connor Senior Research Program Director University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Fayetteville

Betsy O’Connor has led and expanded research into health disparities in specific populations in the United States and internationally.

In 2015, she joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Northwest Regional Campus in Fayetteville as a research coordinator. She started and still works in the Office of Community Health and Research that’s researched projects in which she’s interested and like those on which she worked during college.

The Collinsville, Ill., native earned a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Arkansas in December 2014.

She’s worked at UAMS for five years and has been promoted multiple times, including as an assistant director and associate director of research. The work has been similar, but her responsibilities have expanded. She was promoted to her current role in May and oversees about 40 employees.

O’Connor manages a team of outreach and research coordinators, research managers and assistant research directors. She’s led several multimillion-dollar health equity projects in Arkansas, other states and the Marshall Islands. The work includes complex implementation models, and its successful completion has led to scientific outcomes improving diabetes and other related health disparities impacting those disproportionately affected.

In 2018, she joined international nonprofit Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations and implemented a diabetes prevention program across the Pacific, in Hawaii and the continental United States. She spent about a year with the nonprofit before returning to UAMS.

She’s a volunteer color guard instructor for Fayetteville High School. She enjoys listening to fiction, trail walking and baking.