Tony Award winner Ben Vereen, noted for roles in the TV miniseries “Roots” and the motion picture “All That Jazz,” displayed his theatrical talents July 18 during “An Evening with Ben Vereen,” a benefit performance for the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute.
A portion of the proceeds from the event, which included a special salute to members of the U.S. military forces and their families, was earmarked specifically for the treatment of patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. Vereen suffered a devastating brain injury in 1992 when he was he was struck by a car while walking along the Pacific Coast Highway. Although severely injured, Vereen was able to return to Broadway less than a year later in “Jelly’s Last Jam.”
The Psychiatric Research Institute, scheduled to open in December, will house faculty and staff dedicated to the research, evaluation and care of individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury and their families.
Dr. G. Richard Smith is director of the Psychiatric Research Institute.
Drug Use Study
Researchers at UAMS recently reported a study of rural methamphetamine and cocaine use in three states that showed many users stopped on their own without formal substance abuse treatment during that time.
Interviews with more than 700 users of the illegal stimulants living in rural counties in Arkansas, Kentucky and Ohio also showed that despite increased use of meth in rural areas of the United States, still very few African-Americans use the drug. The study also found that laws restricting purchase of over-the-counter cold medications that include ingredients used to make methamphetamine could be responsible for an increase in cocaine use.
Dr. Tyrone F. Borders, associate professor of Health Policy and Management and Epidemiology in the UAMS College of Public Health, was lead author, and Dr. Brenda Booth, professor of psychiatry in the UAMS College of Medicine, was lead investigator in the Rural Stimulant Study.
The research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
The Cancer Control Program at UAMS’ Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute has been awarded a $2.5 million grant to provide colorectal cancer education and screenings in St. Francis and Mississippi counties.
The five-year grant from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities will fund the Colorectal Cancer Education and Screening Program, a community-based research program combining the efforts of the Cancer Control Program with that of local residents in the two rural Arkansas counties.
Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman is principal investigator of the Colorectal Cancer Education and Screening Program.
Kids and Violence
A UAMS pediatrics researcher hopes to improve intervention programs by seeing how a child’s exposure to violence at home and in their neighborhood could have a lasting impact on their social or behavioral development.
Dr. Lorraine M. McKelvey, a research assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics of the UAMS College of Medicine, received a one-year, $54,995 grant through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Connections Initiative.
She plans to use her grant to explore the effects of domestic and community violence on children over time. An estimated 10 million children in the United States have witnessed or been victims of violence, which can put them at risk for developmental problems including aggressiveness, depression and problems in school.
The program collected data from families in the Little Rock area along with cities in seven other states.