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Diversity Monthly Highlight: May 10
Dr. Pao-Feng Tsai







Dr. Tsai receiving Geriatric Nursing Professorship April 21, 2010. Chancellor Rahn on left, Dean Barone on right. Photo by UAMS Marketing & Communications.

Pao-Feng Tsai, Ph.D., R.N., an associate professor in the UAMS College of Nursing, is one of the leading experts in geriatric nursing. She was recently invested with the Alice An-Loh Sun Endowed Professorship in Geriatric Nursing. She teaches in the nursing master and doctoral programs, but says that her main mission at UAMS is research. She spends most of her time writing grants and publications. One of her ongoing research projects examines the effect of an ancient martial art, Tai Chi, on knee pain in elders with dementia.

Dr. Tsai started working as a home health care nurse in her country of origin, Taiwan, about 20 years ago. Many of her clients were elders with multiple chronic illnesses. She said, "Back then, there were very few clinical nurses or nursing educators with geriatric expertise in Taiwan. So I decided to study geriatric nursing to provide better care to elderly patients in Taiwan." But then for family reasons, she decided to stay in the United States and continue work with elders here. She has been at UAMS for eleven years.

Dr. Tsai speaks three languages, Taiwanese, Mandarin Chinese and English and has had many hobbies in the past - water painting, Chinese painting, making pottery, photography and dancing. "What I enjoy the most now is wandering around my garden and reading," she said.

Appreciating the diversity at UAMS is so important. Dr. Tsai stated, "Having a person from any culture or subculture in any organization/institution will definitely help people to hear different voices and understand each other. I am always amazed to see people's responses when I speak up and I think people appreciate having input from people with different backgrounds. We all contribute to the campus, by coming from different cultural backgrounds, people have a lot of different thoughts on various issues. By speaking up and listening, I think we can understand and appreciate each other better and work together better."

Dr. Tsai shares her many insights with patients, colleagues and students, but especially wants to teach "that respecting the differences and treasuring the similarities among people will help to create a better work environment which, in turn, will help people to be productive."