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
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
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.