A Brief History of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences 

With a faculty of eight physicians and an enrollment of 20 students, the institution known today as the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences had a modest beginning.  In 1879, the founding physicians of the fledgling medical education program in Little Rock sought an affiliation between the school and the Arkansas Industrial University; now the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  The first recipient of a medical degree was Tom M. Pinson, M.D. The only member of the class of 1880, he received his degree from the Governor at a ceremony for one graduate.

In 1899, AIU in Fayetteville became the University of Arkansas and the medical program in Little Rock continued as its Medical Department.  With continued growth in the program, the department became the School of Medicine in 1918.  Although the names changed, the goals remained the same: to provide well-trained physicians for Arkansas, the region, and the nation.

Decades later, other academic programs related to the practice of medicine were established -- the Graduate School (1943) and the Schools of Pharmacy (1951), Nursing (1953), and Health Related Professions (1971).  In 1975, a reorganization plan created the University of Arkansas System. UAMS became a major part of that system, and the former schools were renamed colleges.  The College of Public Health was established in 2001.

UAMS provides clinical care to patients and is the only comprehensive teaching facility in the state for students pursuing medical and other health-care degree programs. A major referral center for seriously ill patients from throughout the state, UAMS provides access to world-class care from faculty physicians and superbly trained doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals.

Centers of excellence include cancer treatment, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, neurosurgery, pediatrics, and geriatrics. The Harry P. Ward Tower attached to University Hospital in 1997 extended its capability to provide high-tech health care in bone marrow transplantation, skull base surgery, hip and knee joint replacement, and laser surgery.

The outreach efforts of the university extend to the borders of the state through the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program with six teaching and clinical facilities. Through general, public-oriented health education projects like Mini-Medical School and regularly scheduled radio and television programs, UAMS enhances its four-fold mission -- To Teach, To Search, To Heal, To Serve. Through education, research, clinical care programs, and community service statewide, UAMS fulfills its unique role as the foundation of the health-care system in Arkansas.

About UAMS     Mission Statement