MAY 31, 2006 | Three longtime supporters of health care in Arkansas received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) during May 20 graduation ceremonies.
UAMS graduated 773 students from the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health and the College of Medicine Graduate School. The majority of medical professionals in
Walker and her late husband Willard, an early Wal-Mart executive, started the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation in 1986. Through the foundation, the Walkers’ generosity has touched the lives of tens of thousands of Arkansans with gifts for a multitude of medical, educational and humanitarian organizations.
The foundation has given more than $37 million to UAMS. Their most recent gift of $21.5 million included $15 million for the
Also, the Walkers gave $8 million in the mid 1990s to expand the Arkansas Cancer Research Center (ACRC) at UAMS. The ACRC’s Pat and
Pat Walker is a charter member of the UAMS Chancellor’s Circle and an active member of the ACRC Board.
In his 23 years of public service in the Arkansas General Assembly, Jay Bradford has been an advocate for many health care issues. In 2000, he was recognized by the American Medical Association as the most effective state senator in the nation for health care.
As a state senator he led the fight to mandate the use of seat belts and for mental health parity. Throughout his legislative career, he has successfully led efforts to enact laws that focus on women’s and children’s health, safety and education issues.
His work includes creation of the domestic violence shelter program, distribution of HIV/AIDS medications and regulations that require the Department of Health to provide nursing homes with influenza and pneumonia vaccines as well as the staff to administer them.
Bradford assisted with passage of a Mixed Drink Tax in 1989 that funded the
Among his health care related accomplishments, Gov. Mike Huckabee created the ARKids First program, a nationally recognized initiative that provides health care for tens of thousands of uninsured children. He also led the ballot initiative in 2000 that devotes all of the tobacco settlement money to improving the health of Arkansans.
Most recently, Huckabee worked to pass the Tobacco Settlement Revenue Bond Act of 2006 that designates the ACRC at UAMS as the state’s official cancer institute and authorizes issuance of bonds to support the center. He also created the Healthy Arkansas Initiative to encourage Arkansans to stop smoking, exercise more and eat healthier.