The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has led the state in research, education and health care for nearly 140 years. With a new chancellor, the state’s largest public employer has its eyes on the prize: a healthier, happier Arkansas.
Meredith Zozus, Ph.D. joined UAMS’s College of Medicine—Department of Biomedical Informatics as associate professor and vice chair for academic programs in 2016. Dr. Zozus was particularly attracted to the school’s emphasis on biomedical informatics in the implementation of strategic methods that ensure efficient use of data.
Keenly aware of the importance of collecting and managing research findings to support conclusions, The Data Book author is excited to be a part of this process at UAMS. “The niche between the research mission and being the only academic hospital in the state gives UAMS statewide reach,” Zozus says. “UAMS has a social contract to do work statewide to ensure patient safety so that health care, cost and quality are improved.”
“I’ve seen more young investigators come with questions that directly relate to them,” Zozus says. Brooke Montgomery, Ph.D., MPH, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion, is passionate about improving the health of marginalized communities and focused on preventing sexually transmitted infection and reducing sexual risk, overall. When a close look at the rates of cervical cancer in the southern United States revealed education about human papillomavirus (HPV) and low rates of completed HPV vaccinations as culprits, Montgomery worked to improve education and access to testing and vaccinations statewide.
After 12-17 years of translational and clinical research, a new discovery is ready for implementation in a clinical setting. “Transitional blocks, or valleys of death, often prolong this journey,” Zozus says. “Grants help develop innovative solutions that improve the efficiency, quality and impact of the process, allowing for further testing to break through blocks.”
Laura James, M.D., associate vice chancellor for clinical and translational research at UAMS, is the principal investigator (PI) for the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). The CTSA consortium comprises 62 academic research institutions across the nation that communicate with each other to identify transferable solutions for health challenges everywhere. As PI, James has engaged communities all over the state—specifically rural areas—in this work. Beyond research, this grant allows UAMS to deliver quality care to patients.
Charlotte Hobbs, M.D., Ph.D. serves UAMS as executive associate dean for clinical and translational research. For more than 20 years, her focus on epigenetics and birth defects has merited national attention, research grants, and seats on working groups and committees. As director of the Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention and PI for an ongoing national study on environmental and genetic contributors to birth defects, Dr. Hobbs enrolled families from every county in Arkansas, expanding the data pool and making prevention efforts accessible statewide.
Hear more about UAMS’ mission to improve health care in Arkansas from Dr. Meredith Zozus, Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA and Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Stephanie Gardner at the October 11-12 World Woman Summit in Little Rock.
Author: Erin Snow
Arkansas native Erin Snow spent nearly 10 years in communications for Heifer International before relocating to her husband’s hometown of New Orleans in 2016. She has managed to meld all the things she loves and enjoys life in the Big Easy as a freelance writer, editor, yoga instructor, essential oils wellness educator and holistic esthetician.