Dr. Patrick Casey, a developmental pediatrician at UAMS and a pioneer in the field of early intervention, became primary investigator for one of 8 sites for the Infant Health and Development Project (IHDP) in 1986. This national, multisite, randomized controlled intervention study pioneered services for low-birth-weight preterm infants, and the Arkansas site demonstrated outstanding difference in I.Q. scores and behavioral measures between the intervention and control group children.
These findings were reported first in the Journal of the American Medical Association in June, 1990, and continue to be well described in the literature of early intervention. This longitudinal data continues to be a source of academic interest, generating many scholarly articles, as recently as the November 2016 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
As the research ended, there was interest in offering this opportunity to other children at risk. Arkansas state government stepped forward to fund the continuation of the model, creating the Child Health Medical Services (CHMS) program, funded through Medicaid, fee-for-service. Other children’s programs have since accessed these funds, but UAMS Kids First is the only academic program of its type in Arkansas.
The first clinic outside of Little Rock was located in Morrilton in 1992. Nine other locations were added between 1992 and 1997, as communities expressed interest in having these services located in their areas of need. Today, UAMS Kids First has capacity to service about 700 children at any time in 11 clinics across Arkansas.
In addition to our high quality clinical services, UAMS Kids First is proud to continue Dr. Casey’s legacy of academic research and professional education. The program continues under the direction of Angela Scott, M.D., Ph.D., a board-certified developmental-behavioral pediatrician and faculty in the UAMS College of Medicine. Through the University of Arkansas’ Interdisciplinary Education (IPE) Initiative, UAMS Kids First provides innovative programming not only for the children we serve, but for the generation of young professionals who will continue to move the needle forward for young children with special needs in Arkansas and beyond.