JAN. 31, 2007 | The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has embarked on a campaign to raise $325 million by 2010, the first comprehensive fund-raising effort for the campus in more than a decade.
“Campaign Imagine” was announced at a kickoff event Jan. 26 at The Peabody Little Rock attended by more than 500 supporters and employees, including 350 members of the Chancellor’s Circle, an annual giving program whose members provide at least $1,000 each in unrestricted funds to be used at the discretion of UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D.
“The success of this campaign is essential to the health and well-being of Arkansans for years to come,” said John Blohm, UAMS vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs. “While UAMS is already at the center of health care research, care and innovation in Arkansas, the results that we can accomplish through this campaign will help propel us into the role of a national leader in these areas.”
Guests at the campaign dinner were welcomed by Wilson and Blohm and were treated to a video entitled “Imagine the Future of Healthcare,” illustrating how UAMS planned to improve the health of Arkansans through the campaign. Eight-year-old Gracie Stover of Rison, the daughter of graduates of the UAMS Colleges of Pharmacy and Nursing, acted as emcee, representing the future of UAMS and health care in Arkansas.
Debbie Walker of Springdale, executive director of the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, represented the four-member steering committee in recognizing campaign leadership, including directors of UAMS centers and institutes, deans of the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health and the Graduate School, chairmen of the employee campaign and employee ambassadors.
Other steering committee members are William E. Clark, Hugh T. McDonald and E. Lee Ronnel, all of Little Rock.
The campaign will benefit numerous efforts at the university, including construction of a 10-floor expansion of the UAMS Medical Center, a Psychiatric Research Institute and expansions to the Arkansas Cancer Research Center and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. Funds from the campaign also will provide for new faculty chairs and professorships, an expansion of statewide health care programs in underserved areas and support for research programs in a variety of areas.
According to a June 2006 report issued by UAMS, Arkansas is expected to have one of the highest percentages of residents 65 or older in the United States by the year 2025. An already rising demand for health care, along with the retirement of the baby boomer generation, could overburden a health care system that already does not have enough doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, according to the UAMS Report: Meeting Arkansas’ Health Care Work Force Needs.
“The growing demand for health care professionals is already impacting our state,” said UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D. “We must work together to ensure that Arkansans are well cared for now and in the years to come.”