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summer 2009


Chances Career changers embrace health care

House•Call Summer 2009

editor Susan Van Dusen art director Laurie Shell managing editor Liz Caldwell creative director Keith Runkle


from Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson


s I write this column, Arkansas’ unemployment rate has reached 6.6 percent. While still considerably less than the national rate of 8.5 percent, thousands of Arkansans continue to struggle with lost wages, declining retirement funds, mounting bills and insecurity about the future. For some people, these uncertain times can translate into new opportunities, including the chance to explore a different career path. Health care offers some of the most stable and well paying jobs in any economy, but especially during an economic downturn. An October 2008 document released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that despite major job loss in industries such as manufacturing, construction and retail trade, the health care industry added more than 20,000 positions in that one month alone. The largest employment jumps were seen in outpatient services and hospitals. In fact, health care was one of only three major industries to add jobs in the latter part of 2008; the other two were mining and government. In this issue of HouseCall we highlight four UAMS employees who made a transition from other careers to health care. The reasons for their career moves are varied, but the end result is the same: rewarding careers in a stable industry. As you read about these health care professionals, remember that there are many more like them enrolled in UAMS’ colleges and working on its staff. These people will fill vital health care roles in Arkansas’ future, and for that we thank them.

writers Liz Caldwell Nate Hinkel Jon Parham David Robinson Susan Van Dusen photographer Johnpaul Jones editorial advisory board Kathy Alexander Jerry Atchley Anne Bynum Cindy Pugh Dale Ronnel Carla Spainhour Judy Snowden Becky Tucker

chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D.

vice chancellor of communications & marketing Pat Torvestad associate vice chancellor of communications & marketing Leslie Taylor assistant vice chancellor of communications & marketing Tim Irby HouseCall is published quarterly by UAMS Office of Communications & Marketing, 4301 W. Markham St. #890, Little Rock, AR 72205-7199 Phone: (501) 686-5686 Fax: (501) 686-6020

Read current and archived issues of HouseCall online at


I. Dodd Wilson, M.D. Chancellor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


Summer 2009


Hit Me With Your Best Shot


User Friendly


On Second Thought


Against the Odds

The latest word on vaccines from UAMS experts

11 adds new patient-friendly features

Health care is a top industry for people looking to change careers

Psychiatric inpatient care is now a reality in northwest Arkansas

In every issue




Did You Know






Hip resurfacing procedure puts a former Razorback on the mend

Newsworthy happenings at UAMS

Volunteer Win Rockefeller Jr. donates his time to improve access to cancer care

New Cancer Institute tower will have many distinctive features


On the cover: At age 44, Kim Carman made a career change to health care. Cover photo: Johnpaul Jones




it Me with Your B

Vaccines help create a healthier world.


When Heather Smith took her infant daughter, Makaela, to the pediatrician for her first round of immunizations, there were plenty of tears. And they weren’t all from Makaela. “I broke down and cried the first time I took her for shots,” said Smith, director of the UAMS Library’s Learning Resource Center. “They’re no fun, but they are necessary.” For new parents like Smith, immunizations are a way of life. During a child’s first 15 months, there are 25 recommended immunizations. And that’s just the start. In fact, vaccinations can — and should — continue throughout your lifetime, not only for your own good health, but also for the health of the community. “New vaccines are constantly being developed and tested,” said Dr. Robert Hopkins Jr. — and he should know. An associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at UAMS, Hopkins serves on state and national boards that evaluate and recommend immunizations for children and adults throughout the United States. House•Call

Best Shot

By Susan Van Dusen

An interest in immunizations has followed Hopkins since his medical school days. While vaccinations were a core piece of his pediatric training, they were not as heavily emphasized in his other specialty, general internal medicine. “I like to think that I carried my interest in preventive care and immunizations from the pediatrics world into the internal medicine world, where I spend most of my time,” he said.

On the horizon Vaccinations

Vaccines are in the works to prevent and treat noninfectious diseases, such as cancer.

are designed to stimulate the body’s immune system to provide protection against disease. While they are primarily effective against infectious disease, such as measles or chicken pox, vaccines also are in the works to prevent and treat noninfectious diseases, such as cancer. UAMS’ own Dr. Thomas Kieber-Emmons, professor of pathology, is preparing to begin Phase 1 testing of a breast cancer vaccine that he calls “the culmination of my life’s work.” In fact, his research has been federally funded for about 17 years, attesting to the lengthy process involved in developing something as complex as a cancer vaccine. “The immune system has to be primed to be on guard for cancer cells, since they often don’t send out danger signals to the immune system in the way other disease-causing agents do,” Kieber-Emmons said. » House•Call



New mom and UAMS employee Heather Smith knows the

importance of immunizing her daughter, Makaela. But when it came

In the case of the breast cancer vaccine — which is intended to prevent recurrence of the disease — KieberEmmons’ goal is to trigger an immune response to the carbohydrates covering the surface of the cancer cells, thus destroying the cells and leaving the healthy tissue alone. “The challenge in creating a cancer vaccine lies in being able to target the cancer cells only, while not attacking the normal tissue,” Hopkins said, adding that it’s a different concept than vaccinating against something like the flu virus. “If you target the flu virus with a vaccine, you kill it off, get it out of your system and it doesn’t make you sick,” he said. “Cancer, however, causes abnormal changes in the body, and it’s a much bigger challenge to target a vaccine that goes after that abnormality.” Keiber-Emmons’ clinical trial — which will be conducted in conjunction with Dr. Laura Hutchins, director of the UAMS Division of Hematology and Oncology — will show if the 6


time for Makaela’s 15-month MMR shot, Smith felt she had reason to pause.

Is there any truth to the claim that the MMR vaccine can cause

autism, she asked her pediatrician. His answer was reassuring.

“He told me that there is no proven scientific link between the

MMR vaccine and autism,” she said, adding that it concerns her that some parents choose not to immunize their children. “I don’t want an unimmunized child to put my child at risk.”

The increasing rate of children diagnosed with autism during the

past 30 years has caused some people to question a possible link between the brain development disorder and the MMR vaccine, which has been used worldwide for about the same amount of time.

These perceived risks, said UAMS’ Dr. Robert Hopkins Jr.,

associate professor of medicine and pediatrics, are unproven.

“Every medicine has a potential risk, and we need to critically

look for those things. But this is something that has been looked at in multiple venues and has been shown to be safe and critically important to the health of our children and our community,” Hopkins said.

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella

(or German measles) and has dramatically reduced instances of these diseases during the past three decades.

or two childhood vaccinations to last a lifetime. “We have learned an incredible More to Learn The complexity amount about the immune system over the past 20 years. It only of the immune system is the makes sense that our knowledge of reason that each vaccine is vaccines and their potential health administered on a unique benefits would also continue to timetable. Some areas act grow,” Hopkins said. “We will transiently and require repeated always be developing, testing and vaccinations, such as for the monitoring vaccines for the health flu. Other areas provide longerof our community.” lasting protection, allowing one

vaccine does indeed accomplish its intended purpose.

User Friendly UAMS Web site adds convenience features By David Robinson

check it out!

UAMS launched its new patientfocused Web site earlier this year.


ince was unveiled this year, visitors are finding new features to help them navigate their health care. UAMS patients can request their prescription refills, check the status of their prescriptions, request appointment changes and fill out their preregistration questionnaires online before they arrive for their outpatient clinic appointments. “There’s been a lot of research about the kinds of services patients want from their doctors and hospitals, and we’re applying that to,” said Lannie Byrd, director of the UAMS Web Center. One of the recently added features is online prescription refills. It’s easy, Byrd said, with access granted simply by typing in the patient’s name and prescription number. The service tells users the status of their refill, how many refills are still available and what time it will be ready for pickup. The new Web site also has streamlined the hospital’s preregistration form, which now asks the same questions across all UAMS clinics, making it possible for patients to fill it out online before they arrive. Once a patient has registered, they have access to a calendar of all their appointments for up to 12 months and the ability to request schedule changes. All of the services are on the left side of the home page. By clicking on the link “My UAMS Online bill pay, Health” patients can offering patients a detailed bill, is link to appointments, expected to be preregistration and available for use this summer. prescription refills.




t’s no secret that jobs are harder to come by these days. Layoffs seem common across many industries. Still, one industry can’t seem to fill all of its vacancies: health care. Health care work force shortages are expected to keep growing as the baby boomers retire and leave their health care jobs, while at the same time needing more health care services for themselves.



On Second Thought

The health care industry is inviting to many

By Jon Parham

These trends have many people — from the recently unemployed to those who just want something different — looking at health care as a new career path. Dr. Richard Wheeler, UAMS College of Medicine executive associate dean, has seen students who were dentists, homemakers or real estate agents before coming to medical school. Dr. Claudia Barone, UAMS College of Nursing dean, said a couple years ago an investment banker who just wanted a career change entered nursing school. Danny Bercher, chairman of the Emergency Medical Sciences program in the UAMS College

of Health Related Professions, has seen construction contractors, nursing assistants and military veterans in his program. “I’d say the majority of our students tried another area first, whether it was another health care profession or not,” Bercher said. Nearly half responding to a 2002 survey of allied health professionals in the Journal of Allied Health said they decided on a career in allied health after working in another career. Bercher said he believes the variety of work in health care proves attractive to career changers. From paramedics to radiologic technologists to nurses to dietitians, health care offers a wide range of work environments and

tempos. Time and again, Bercher said he hears the same refrain: Career changers simply want a job where they can help people. And job opportunities are growing. Occupations such as nursing, health information management and dietitians are expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “We’ve still got as high demand for paramedics and emergency medical technicians as there has ever been,” Bercher said. Barone said the high demand for nurses will continue in Arkansas for the foreseeable future. UAMS researchers surveyed Arkansas health care employers about job vacancies in 2008. Findings showed more

people seeking a new career path. than 3,800 current job vacancies, with more than 10,000 expected within five years. Nursing had the highest number of vacancies, followed by the various allied health professions. That makes the industry a prime target for those seeking a more rewarding career or those forced to change career due to a layoff. “When I hear people thinking of a career in nursing or health care, I always want to help steer them that way,” Barone said. “It’s a career that, regardless of what the economy does, has stood the test of time. People are always going to need health care.” Four career changers share the stories of why they made the leap to health care. »

House•Call House•Call


Jeff Kirby

Registered Nurse


requent hospital visits to a good friend struggling with multiple myeloma and a hidden passion for helping people were two undeniable forces pulling this awardwinning insurance salesman to a new career in health care. Jeff Kirby, 49, of Little Rock, was in sales for nearly two decades before a slowing economy, an uncertain future and a nagging ambition for a more fulfilling career prompted him to find a new path. “A friend told me about one of those personality surveys you can take to find out where your interests lie and what you might be good at doing,” Kirby said. The results of his Myers-Briggs Personality Test revealed something deep down he knew was lingering — a desire for a career in health care. 10


Kirby took a job doing patient transport while earning a bachelor’s of science in nursing at the UAMS College of Nursing. He graduated in December and recently began a new job as an operating room nurse at UAMS. “It feels good to be a part of a team that’s doing all they can to make people’s lives happier and healthier,” Kirby said. — Nate Hinkel

Jo Claire Hutchison Pharmacist


fter more than two decades working in a lab at the Arkansas Kraft Division of Green Bay Packaging near Morrilton, Jo Claire Hutchison, 51, decided it was time for a new white coat. As manager of a lab that tested wastewater and chemicals, Hutchison’s regulatory paperwork and reporting had grown into a painstaking routine. And so she decided in 2002 that a pharmacy career would allow her to be more involved with people in the community. “I studied microbiology at the University of Arkansas and that was always an interest of mine,” Hutchison said. “I looked at several different fields, but decided that pharmacy would allow me to interact with and give more to the

community that I love.” In 2006, she graduated from the UAMS College of Pharmacy and opened a pharmacy at Morrilton Food and Drug in downtown Morrilton, which now fills more than 60 prescriptions a day. “I encourage anyone who isn’t happy with their career to make a commitment to health care and see it through,” Hutchison said. “I love showing up for work and helping to make a difference in people’s lives.” — Nate Hinkel

House•Call House•Call


Dr. Martha Phillips

Research Assistant Professor


artha Phillips, 56, has turned a perfect storm of education, interests and experience into a pictureperfect profession. She began her career teaching emotionally disturbed children. In addition to a psychology degree, she picked up a master’s degree in education and earned an administration certificate that allowed her to work on the principal level. She ended that chapter of her career at a hospitalaffiliated school that helped integrate troubled children into public schools. Being an office mate to the business manager at the hospital, Phillips discovered an interest in the business side of health care. So she went back to school and obtained a Master’s of Public Health and a Master’s of



Business Administration with a focus on health care administration. At UAMS, Phillips now draws on all of the skills she’s accumulated along the way, including the Ph.D. in health behavior she earned in 2000. “What I really enjoy is teaching and research, and now I get to do both full time,” she said. “Gathering and framing information to help communities and policy makers make informed decisions is my great passion.” — Nate Hinkel

Kim Carman

Ophthalmic Medical Technologist


pending 16 years managing in the environmental lab at McClelland Consulting Engineers wasn’t enough to surrender Kim Carman’s passion for health care. Once a pre-med major in college, Carman, 47, enjoyed the science-related career her biology degree led her to testing soil, water and other resources. It was steady and familyfriendly, which allowed her to raise her two children without too much chaos. “But I always felt a draw toward health care, and I have a passion for helping people,” Carman said.

So at age 44 she entered the two-year ophthalmic medical technology program within the UAMS College of Health Related Professions. She finished last summer and is now an ophthalmic medical technologist at the UAMS Jones Eye Institute, where she does all diagnostic testing of patients. “It’s a complete turnaround from what I was doing. I love the interaction with patients and getting a chance to work with some of the top eye specialists in the state,” Carman said. — Nate Hinkel

House•Call House•Call


Inpatient mental health care unit becomes a reality in northwest Arkansas By David Robinson


t a time when hospitals across the country are cutting services, UAMS’ Psychiatric Research Institute is bucking the trend. When the Psychiatric Research Institute opened in December 2008, it marked the first time in 30 years that inpatient psychiatric services had been offered at UAMS. But Institute director Dr. Richard Smith and his staff weren’t 14


prepared to stop there. Knowing the need for inpatient psychiatric care throughout the state, they expanded their services into northwest Arkansas and partnered with six other organizations to develop the Behavioral Health Unit at Northwest Medical Center – Springdale. “You should understand that opening new hospital beds —

especially psychiatric beds —is not something that happens every day,” said Smith. “In fact, it’s a huge reversal of what has been the case.” Smith cited a recent American Hospital Association survey, which found that 90 percent of hospitals in the country were cutting staff, administrative expenses and community services like behavioral

“This is unique and could be a model for the rest of the country.”

health or mental health care to help weather the economic storm. The 28-bed adult mental health unit in Springdale began accepting patients in May, thanks to collaboration among six regional partners. UAMS physicians are staffing the unit through its newly established Psychiatric Research Institute – Northwest. Development of the Behavioral Health Unit was led by the grassroots Northwest Arkansas

Represented by its circular icon, the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute offers services in central and northwest Arkansas.

Arkansas General Assembly. UAMS’ new northwest Arkansas campus will use the Psychiatric Research Institute –Northwest and the Behavioral Health Unit, as a teaching site for medical students and students of nursing, pharmacy and other allied health professions. UAMS medical residents and fellows also will help provide clinical services. Dr. Michael Hollomon, medical director of the Psychiatric Research Institute – Northwest, said the Behavioral Health Unit’s

opening was thanks to a community effort that brought public and private groups together. “This is unique and could be a model for the rest of country,” Hollomon said. Beebe said the Behavioral Health Unit in Springdale will help improve the quality of life in the rapidly growing area by providing a vital health care service. “Northwest Arkansas has long needed more local facilities for mental

health treatment, and with the help of legislators and health care providers, we’ve now been able to make additional beds in Springdale a reality,” Beebe said.

check it out!

Acute Care Mental Health Task Force. The partners include UAMS, Northwest Health System, Ozark Guidance, Care Foundation Inc., Washington Regional Medical Center, and Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas. Start-up funds for the in-patient program came from a combination of more than $1 million from Gov. Mike Beebe’s office and more than $1 million from the


UAMS doctors will provide some outpatient clinic services to patients at the Springdale unit.



UAMS Healers

By Jon Parham

in the

This former Razorback is still on the go thanks to a hip replacement alternative

Game T

ulsa attorney Ron Barber enjoyed painless walks on the beach in the Bahamas over spring break, just a couple months after having a hip joint replaced with a metal cap and socket. Thanks to his January hip resurfacing procedure, he is pain free after years of a nagging hip soreness that were beginning to wear down the 54-year-old who played for the Arkansas Razorbacks in the early 1970s. “I reached a point after 25 or so years that I had significant limitation in my range of motion, which kept me from enjoying a lot of my favorite activities,” said Barber, who also enjoys snow skiing and white water rafting. It wasn’t severe pain, he said, just almost constant as the cartilage in the joint deteriorated over time. Sometimes he had to take pain relievers just to rest through the night. One might have thought a total hip replacement was in Barber’s future. “Hip replacement in younger people does not have the same durability as in older people,” said Dr. Richard Evans, a UAMS orthopaedic surgeon. “Younger patients with a hip replacement often end up needing another replacement after 10 to 20 years. And with so much bone already removed in the first operation, joint function and pain relief after the second operation is often not as good as the first.”



check it out!

Evans is the UAMS chief of adult reconstruction and one of the few surgeons in the region performing the hip resurfacing procedure as an alternative to a total hip replacement. The prime candidate for hip resurfacing is active and likely younger than 60. “Resurfacing allows us to delay a total hip replacement, which is good for a younger patient with joint problems,” Evans said. Barber found Evans through a friend and decided hip resurfacing was the answer to his problems. “The thing that appealed to me most was the fact that it was far less invasive and let me get back to my normal activities more quickly,” Barber said. During the procedure, the head or ball at the top of the thigh bone (femur) is mostly retained, but shaped to accept a metal sphere. The hip joint is not removed. In addition, there is no large metal stem going down the central part of the femur to hold a completely new ball in place — as there would be in a total hip replacement. Barber was home a couple days after his Jan. 22 surgery. By early February, he was in physical therapy. He has now returned to most all regular activities. “I feel 120 percent better than I did before the surgery,” he said. Hip resurfacing surgery can work with both men and women. But men generally have more sturdy bones to support the implants and are less likely to develop the bone-weakening condition osteoporosis until later in life, Evans said.


Find out more at www. medical-services/ surgery/resurfacing. Barber’s Razorbacks teammates included eventual pro players Scott Bull, Jerry Eckwood, Ike Forte, Greg Koch and R.C. Thielemann.



Did You


Dr. Dan Rahn, Ginger Wilson, Lana Rahn and Dr. I. Dodd Wilson pose for a photo following Rahn’s appointment as the new UAMS chancellor.

New Chancellor Named

Delta Walkin’

A new outdoor walking track at the UAMS Delta Area Health Education Center (AHEC) in HelenaWest Helena was officially opened and named for U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln on April 5. The Helena Health Foundation was instrumental in securing money for the $211,000 track, as well as joining with Lincoln to raise $4 million to build the facility that houses the Delta AHEC and the Dr. Vasudevan Wellness Center, which opened in 2006. In addition to a playground, the seven-acre track complex includes a pavilion with picnic tables and five fitness stations.

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees unanimously appointed Dr. Daniel W. Rahn, of Augusta, Ga., the next chancellor of UAMS on March 24. Rahn will be the fourth chancellor of the institution, succeeding Dr. I. Dodd Wilson who will retire this year after nine years as chancellor. He will assume the post sometime before Jan. 1. Rahn has been president of the Medical College of Georgia and senior vice chancellor for health and medical programs for the University System of Georgia since 2001. 18


The Survey Says …

In the Community

Working with residents in the Delta to improve health got a little easier for the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health as it was awarded about $500,000 a year for five years to develop community partnerships that promote health and well-being there. The funds are from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of its Prevention Research Centers Program and provides for a pilot study to address several health issues in the Delta. UAMS is one of just 35 academic health centers nationwide to earn this designation.

UAMS recently received more good news validating its mantra of “Creating Comfort, Hope and Healing for Our Patients and Families.” • ge a e• m I • The latest results of the mag I • t spec Press-Ganey Associates patient satisfaction surveys reveal an inpatient mean score increase from 81.5 percent in April 2008 to 84.3 percent in April 2009, setting another record for UAMS. “It shows that employees at UAMS are committed to creating ‘Comfort, Hope and Healing’ and have worked hard to convey this to our guests,” said Mary Ann Coleman, associate hospital director of the UAMS Medical Center.

Closer to Home

Six-year-old Helen Woodyard and her family had to travel to Dallas more than 50 times to receive specialized light treatments for her uncommon skin disease. Helen’s condition was diagnosed at UAMS in 2007. Though her light therapy sessions were successful, Helen’s parents, Bill and Peyton Woodyard, and her twin sister, Ellie, called upon friends to ensure other patients have easier access to treatment. Their efforts resulted in raising $70,000 to buy UAMS a UVA-1 phototherapy machine of its own. The UVA-1 machine, which looks similar to a tanning bed, is being used for research and in treating other skin diseases and is temporarily housed on the first floor of the UAMS Outpatient Center.

Dr. Jay Kincannon with patient Helen Woodyard, left, and her twin sister, Ellie.





By Liz Caldwell

ollow the Leader

New Cancer Institute board member

Win Rockefeller Jr. is following in his father’s footsteps Win Rockefeller Jr. stands in front of a photo of his father, Lt. Gov. Winthrop P. Rockefeller.



Cancer Institute and broke ground on a 12story expansion that will double its size. “Both my father and mother had served on the Cancer Institute Foundation Board, but until Dad was diagnosed I really had very little awareness of what they actually did,” Rockefeller said. After talking with his friend and longtime Cancer Institute supporter Herren Hickingbotham, he decided the Cancer Institute was something he could become passionate about. In 2008, Rockefeller joined the Board’s auction committee, securing items for the annual fundraising Gala for Life. The $1 million it raised set the record for the event's 13-year history, he said. This year he went a step further, joining the Board. He’s already working to secure more

auction items for Gala, set for Sept. 11. But his enthusiasm has grown beyond the auction. He learned that one-third of the state is without a mammography facility to screen for breast cancer. “I’m not married, but I have a mother and three sisters, and to think that many women are in the dark with no access to a mammogram, that’s scary,” he said. He is helping the Institute acquire its second mobile mammography machine, providing three years operating funds and the chassis, or truck, for it. “It’s like a motor home with an exam room, imaging room and patient education area.” Plans are for the machine to be digital, which provides superior results to a film machine. Even before losing his father, Rockefeller’s compassion for others had grown through

his work as a school teacher for children with disabilities as well as by having a brother and sister with Down syndrome. “It’s something that is life changing.” So, too, is his commitment to helping UAMS fight cancer. He said executive director Dr. Peter Emanuel brought new enthusiasm when he joined the Institute in 2007, and former directors Dr. Bart Barlogie, Dr. Kent Westbrook and Dr. James Suen “have really pushed to go toward a cure. “I want to stay on the Board as long as they’ll have me. I would like to get as many people educated as we can on support for the Institute and UAMS.”

check it out!


efore his father became sick in 2005 with the blood disorder that eventually took his life, Win Rockefeller Jr. didn’t give much thought to cancer treatment in Arkansas. That all changed when Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller died July 16, 2006, at UAMS after undergoing unsuccessful bone marrow transplants in Seattle. He had been a candidate for governor until being diagnosed with myeloproliferative disease, a blood disorder that could have developed into leukemia if left untreated. “Seeing what my mother and family went through, I could only imagine what other families were going through,” Rockefeller said. In September 2007, UAMS renamed its Arkansas Cancer Research Center the Winthrop P. Rockefeller


Rockefeller is brainstorming with others at the Cancer Institute to plan an event more affordable for younger people to get them involved in supporting its programs and research.


UAMS builders

The beauty of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute expansion is in its details


n about one year, the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute will welcome the first occupants to its new 12-story tower. Scheduled to open in phases, the initial departments to move in will include some essential patient care areas:

New and return patient registration

Chemotherapy and research pharmacy

Blood draw area

Bookout Translational Research Center/infusion center

Division of Cytology

Ultimately, the 300,000-square-foot building will double the Cancer Institute’s capacity for life-saving research and treatment, blended seamlessly in a facility designed to promote partnerships and interaction between scientists and clinicians.



Here's a look at some of the details that make this building one of a kind. n Dusen

By Susan Va

The building will include a spacious 12-story atrium, a healing garden and a convenient patient drop-off area. A balcony in the infusion area will give patients and their family members a place to catch a breath of fresh air. Patients and staff members provided input into the building’s design. Recycling areas will be designated throughout the building. The tower’s structure contains recycled steel and aluminum. The glass on the building’s exterior allows sunlight in while keeping heat out. The slate wall surrounding the six patient elevators is not just a decorative element; it also will serve as a focal point to help visitors locate the elevators regardless of which floor they are on. Clinic floors are designed so that patients stay in one place while doctors and staff members come to them — rather than the other way around. A 200-foot-long, 20-foot-deep utility trench runs under the new tower. The low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint to be used throughout the building has fewer chemicals and less odor than traditional paint. The new pharmacy will triple in size from its current location and will include “clean rooms” where medication can be prepared in a sterile environment.



4301 W. Markham St. #890 Little Rock, AR 72205

G etting to Know You Avis Wilson

When patients at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute need help with housing or financial aid for travel or medication expenses, Avis Wilson is the person they turn to. Her desire and ability to make each patient’s burden a little lighter recently earned her the campus’ Helen May Compassionate Care Award.

Job title: Project Program Specialist Years as a UAMS employee: 30 Department: Clinical Oncology Social Work in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Job duties: I manage the social work office by assisting the social workers with patient housing arrangements, meal tickets and taxi transportation. I also perform office inventory, order supplies, and assist, prepare and participate in fundraising events and retreats. Hometown: Pine Bluff, Ark.

What is the most rewarding part of your job: Knowing that I’ve done everything I could possibly do to make a difference in a patient’s healing experience. How do you enjoy spending your spare time: I love to go fishing with my husband and our three daughters. I enjoy singing in church, and I love to watch Turner Classic movies. What is your biggest pet peeve: I try not to have any, but I guess it would be when the office machines don’t work properly. That causes my work to be delayed, and I’m not able to assist the patient who is waiting.

Housecall Summer 2009  
Housecall Summer 2009  

A Quarterly Publication of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences - Summer 2009