Arkansas Farm Bureau pledges $500,000 for UAMS health career recruitment

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,779 views 

The Arkansas Farm Bureau Foundation pledged a gift of $500,000 to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Regional Campuses to create the Arkansas Farm Bureau Annual Fund for Excellence.

The fund will support the 35-year old Medical Applications of Science for Health (MASH) program, a summer enrichment camp that allows high school students to learn about health career opportunities. Arkansas Farm Bureau established the fund to support health career recruitment and education camps such as MASH.

“Arkansas Farm Bureau Foundation’s gift is proof of its steadfast commitment to health care in Arkansas, and we are truly grateful that we can count on them as partners,” said Richard Turnage, M.D., vice chancellor for UAMS Regional Campuses. “I would also like to acknowledge Arkansas Farm Bureau’s longtime support of programs like MASH, which are integral pieces in the Regional Campuses’ pipeline-to-practice strategy in creating the state’s next generation of health care professionals.”

Arkansas Farm Bureau has supported health career recruitment and education, helping to address the shortage of health care professionals throughout the state, particularly in rural areas. For more than 35 years, Arkansas Farm Bureau has given in support of programs like MASH, and the newly created fund will further its support of Arkansas students.

“There is no greater measure of the health and vitality of our state than the quality of health care available to our residents,” said Rich Hillman, president of Arkansas Farm Bureau and a sixth-generation farmer. “At Farm Bureau, we believe access to quality health care should not depend on whether a person lives in an urban area or a rural community. The need for high quality medical services is critical to the strength of our rural communities.”

MASH was piloted in Pine Bluff in 1988 and has since expanded to 34 locations across Arkansas and been replicated in other states.

Hosted by one of UAMS’ Regional Campuses and/or a community partner, this two-week summer camp introduces about 600 students entering grades 11 and 12 to health care careers through hands-on activities and exposure to physicians, nurses, physician assistants, medical and radiologic technologists, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and dieticians.

Students learn how professions function individually and as part of a team, and how the fundamentals of anatomy, biology, pharmacology and physiology apply to each discipline.