UAMS receives $5.5M for outreach and training programs in rural, underserved communities

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 825 views 

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has received a $5.5 million supplemental award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund training and outreach programs in rural and underserved areas of the state.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency in HHS, awarded the money under its “Value-Based Medical Student Education Grant.” The supplemental funding brings UAMS’ fiscal-year award to $6.6 million and raises the overall grant award to nearly $19.6 million over four years.

UAMS will use the funding for projects intended to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in rural and medically underserved communities in Arkansas.

Those projects include:

  • Renovation of training facilities for a primary care accelerated medical school track and four-year traditional medical school track at the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus in Fayetteville;
  • The expansion of point-of-care ultrasound training for medical students with new equipment and fellowship programs for faculty members in six of the eight Regional Campuses and the Family Medical Clinic in Little Rock;
  • The Medical Scholars in Public Health Postbaccalaureate Program for Arkansans from socially, economically or geographically disadvantaged backgrounds;
  • Medical-student rotations in rural and underserved communities;
  • Partnership programs from the UAMS Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Arkansas’ historically Black colleges and universities;
  • Expansion of medical-school courses in primary care, behavioral health and lifestyle medicine in rural and underserved areas;
  • Workforce mapping for rural primary care physicians — a new program that aims to improve training and care in rural communities; and
  • Upgrades to facilities and simulation equipment for the UAMS Simulation Center and the Northwest Regional Campus Simulation Center.

“These programs provide support for students as they choose residencies and careers in rural and underserved areas of the state,” said Dr. Richard Turnage, vice chancellor for Regional Campuses. “This will help us increase access to primary care and address the specific health issues that affect these communities.”

Marcia Byers, senior director for the UAMS Regional Campuses, said the expansion of programs throughout the state will help increase the diversity of Arkansas’ health care workforce.

“We want to provide students from rural and underserved areas with opportunities that encourage them to pursue careers in primary care,” she said.