APRIL 19, 2006 | Claudia Beverly, Ph.D., R.N., is proud of her Arkansas roots.
The Stuttgart native told the packed house of friends, family and colleagues about her upbringing and inspiration during the April 6 ceremony naming her inaugural recipient of the Murphy Chair for Rural Leadership and Policy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
“I have witnessed first-hand the plight of rural Arkansas,” Beverly said. “Questions that drive my work are, ‘What needs to be done’ and ‘What can and should I do to make a difference?’”
Beverly joined the staff of the UAMS College of Nursing in 1976. In the early 1980s, she led efforts to establish geriatric clinics in North Little Rock high-rise apartments, cementing her role as a leader in the care of older Arkansans.
“Claudia recognizes the power of a united community to solve its own problems,” said Cornelia Beck, Ph.D., R.N. “She is Arkansas’ contemporary Florence Nightingale.” Beck is a professor in the UAMS College of Nursing and Departments of Geriatrics and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Beverly has been instrumental in establishing programs serving the unique needs of Arkansas’ senior citizens. She helped found at UAMS the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, where she serves as associate director. A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, Beverly also is director of the John A. Hartford Foundation for Geriatric Nursing Excellence at UAMS.
In her position at the Reynolds Institute, she led in the development of the Arkansas Aging Initiative, a network of seven satellite centers on aging located throughout the state. The centers provide geriatric health care for all senior Arkansans within an hour of their home.
“With the Arkansas Aging Initiative, we have transformed the state of Arkansas into a laboratory in which to study, educate and provide clinical care to older adults,” Beverly said. An eighth Center on Aging to be located in Hot Springs is in the works.
The endowment establishing the chair came from Martha W. Murphy, a member of UAMS’ Foundation Fund Board and Advisory Board of the Reynolds Institute. The chair will support efforts to address the needs of an aging society and to influence policy so that the most appropriate system of care is made available to Arkansans.
“Martha Murphy’s enthusiasm has brought an amazing energy to the Institute on Aging,” UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., said. “She was the driving force behind the successful effort to establish a satellite center on aging in El Dorado in 2001, which, with Dr. Beverly’s help, became the template for other centers on aging,” Wilson said.
An El Dorado native, Murphy repeatedly drove her mother from her hometown to UAMS for treatment during a lengthy illness. After her mother’s death, her father also became ill but was able to receive treatment close to home thanks to the newly established Center on Aging in El Dorado.
Beverly’s career is filled with awards for her work as a nurse, researcher and nurse educator. In 2002, she gave expert testimony to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging about geriatric work force issues.
She has successfully led efforts to get licensure and prescriptive authority for advanced practice nurses in Arkansas and served on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice, the Hartford Foundation’s expert panel on Geriatric Advanced Practice Nursing, the National Commission on Nursing Workforce for Long-Term Care, and other councils. She also is a founding member of the Arkansas Coalition for Nursing Home Excellence.
Others participating in the ceremony were B. Alan Sugg, Ph.D., president of the University of Arkansas system; E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., dean of the UAMS College of Medicine; David Lipschitz, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Reynolds Institute and chairman of the Department of Geriatrics; and Michael Carter, a faculty member in long-term care.
An endowed chair is the highest academic honor that can be bestowed by a university on its faculty. The first named chair was established in England in 1502, when Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, established the Lady Margaret Professorship of Divinity at Oxford. An endowed chair at UAMS is supported with designated gifts of $1 million or more. A donor may name a chair in memory of a loved one or to honor a person’s accomplishments.
Links on this page
UAMS College of Nursing: http://nursing.uams.edu/
John A. Hartford Foundation for Geriatric Nursing Excellence: http://hartfordcenter.uams.edu/
Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging: http://centeronaging.uams.edu/