Page 1


Dr. Wilson’s Years as Chancellor Draw to a Close

FALL 2009

House•Call Fall 2009

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


from Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson


t is with mixed emotions that I write this, my final HouseCall column as chancellor of UAMS. The next issue will feature our university’s fourth chancellor and my successor, Dr. Dan W. Rahn. I have complete faith that Dr. Rahn has the integrity and skills to build upon UAMS’ strengths, as well as to find new ways to address the growing health care needs of our state. I hope you will join me in extending a warm welcome to Dr. Rahn and his wife, Lana, when they arrive in November. My career at UAMS has been personally fulfilling, and the positions of College of Medicine dean and UAMS chancellor suited my interests and abilities. UAMS colleagues are wonderful and talented. Serving the people of Arkansas, first as dean and then as chancellor, has been both an honor and a privilege. With the help of each of you — colleagues, community leaders, legislators, philanthropists and volunteers — UAMS has made substantial and long-lasting marks on the health care of Arkansans during my 23 years on the campus. With progress such as our northwest Arkansas campus, our recent clinical and transitional science award from the National Institutes of Health, and our new state-of-the-art hospital and Psychiatric Research Institute, we are well on the way to creating a stronger UAMS and a healthier state for the next generation. I am humbled by the outpouring of emotion extended to my wife, Ginger, and me as we move on to this new phase in our lives. Our thoughts will never be far from UAMS, and we will continue to watch it grow and serve Arkansas for years to come.

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


Fall 2009


Puppy Power

A new program at UAMS has gone to the dogs — therapy dogs, that is.


Man on a Mission

UAMS witnesses the end of an era with the retirement of Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson.

In every issue




College of Public Health graduate puts her degree to work improving Arkansas communities.






Did You Know



A new lung cancer team takes shape.

Institute on Aging announces a major gift and plans to grow.


Newsworthy happenings at UAMS.

Caroline Stevenson became an advocate for people with mental illness after her son’s diagnosis.

On the cover: Dr. I. Dodd Wilson has been UAMS chancellor for nine years. Cover photo: Johnpaul Jones





The Public’s Eye

Charlotte Lewellen-Williams puts her UAMS degree to work at the Clinton School of Public Service.

By Nate Hinkel


harlotte LewellenWilliams is a strong believer that public policy has a direct effect on quality of life. And thanks to a degree program within the UAMS College of Public Health, she’s leading the way to ensure that Americans in need don’t slip through the bureaucratic cracks. “Some of this country’s biggest advancements are a direct result of public policy,” said Williams, an assistant professor and director of the Center on Community Philanthropy at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. “Whether it’s immunizations, clean water, clean air or a number of other things, public policy helps people. It’s important we recognize those needs and work in an efficient way toward filling those gaps.” After working in Chicago in the insurance industry, the Jonesboro native saw firsthand an alarming number of people who didn’t



understand their coverage and struggled with unpaid claims and other nagging problems. Her concern for consumers ignited a passion to become involved with the public sector and help individuals create positive social change.

Path to Public Health Williams found

the UAMS College of Public Health and became part of the Masters in Public Health degree’s inaugural class of 2004. She then became director of policy research and faculty training at UAMS while also becoming the first AfricanAmerican to earn a Doctor of Public Health Leadership, which she obtained at UAMS in December 2008. “The focus of the program was a nice fit for what Charlotte wanted to do,” said Dr. Katharine Stewart, associate dean for academic affairs. “The charge is to develop

leaders who can integrate public health science into everyday practice and develop theories based on research about emerging issues.” And most importantly, the degree challenges students to demonstrate leadership while working with groups or organizations toward specific public health goals.

Community Driven Williams earned the degree and ran with it. She’s credited with expanding the Center on Community Philanthropy at the Clinton School, where she became director of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation-funded program in September 2007. Williams has had her work published in prestigious national journals, including Academic Medicine and the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy. “The Doctor of Public Health Leadership degree positioned me well for this role in that there’s an understanding that

the best solutions and answers don’t come from the National Institutes of Health or organizations like that — they come from real people living in real situations,” she said. That’s part of the

A degree program at the UAMS College of Public Health set one graduate on the path to improving communities.

idea of community philanthropy, which champions the practice of sharing time and talents to improve the community. Lewellen-Williams and her students are modeling community philanthropy

through group projects in low-income, Mississippi River Delta communities in Arkansas’ St. Francis and Phillips Counties, working on economic development, education, poverty reduction and

youth leadership initiatives. For example, in Pine Bluff students are studying after-school care and how community partnerships could build and improve upon the structure currently provided for

school-aged children. “Philanthropy allows us to test out programs before they’re ready for prime time and focus on issues that determine quality of life,” she said.



By Susan Van Dusen

Four-legged friends give UAMS patients a dose of companionship.



Standard poodle Tallulah was the first dog to participate in UAMS' new animal-assisted activity and therapy program.




ost visitors at the UAMS hospital don’t attract much attention. They simply arrive, visit their loved one and then go on their way. Tallulah is not like most visitors. Her arrival is announced by signs in the parking deck, elevator lobbies and patient hallways. She even has a designated parking spot to ensure she can get in and out with ease. Why does this visitor deserve such special treatment? The answer is simple: She offers unconditional love, comfort and healing — and the occasional lick. Tallulah, a standard poodle, is the first pet partner in UAMS’ new animal-assisted activity and therapy program titled Special Pets Offering Therapy (SPOT). The program kicked off in July after about a year of planning, and Tallulah was quickly joined by fellow therapy dogs Labrador retriever Moxie, Great Dane Maggie and Chihuahua Tyler. “We wanted to make sure we did everything as well as we possibly could on the front end as far as establishing policy and ensuring our patients’ safety,” said Gloria Wright, director of the Department of Volunteer Services and Auxiliary. “Since we are a university hospital, we have a very high standard to meet.”

Animal Magnetism Using animals in a therapeutic setting is not a new concept. Florence Nightingale wrote in her 1860 “Notes on Nursing” that “a small pet animal is often an excellent companion for the sick,” and Sigmund Freud was known for using his chow, Jo-Fi, to help assess his patients’ tension levels. If the dog stayed near the patient, Freud believed him or her to be free of tension, but if the dog moved across the room, the patient’s tension was perceived to be high. While many people may associate dogs with animal-assisted therapy, other animals also are regularly used in therapeutic settings. Children and adults with developmental disabilities are known to benefit from interaction with horses, and dolphinassisted therapy for children with autism began 8


in the early 1970s, just to name a few. But what is it about animals that can help us heal from illness or injury? According to research presented at the 2005 American Heart Association Conference, researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles found several positive, quantifiable results when heart failure patients were visited by a trained therapy dog. Participants in the study were asked to answer a questionnaire about their anxiety level before and after the visits. Those who were visited by a dog had a 24 percent drop in anxiety, while those who were visited by a human had only a 10 percent drop. Heart pressure and stress hormone levels also decreased at a much higher rate for those visited by the dog.

Putting Their Best Paw Forward All dogs

in the UAMS program and their human partners have received extensive training through the Delta Society, which is considered the gold standard for therapy animals. The dog/human team is required to stay together at all times while at the hospital. The 12-hour Pet Partners Team Training Course ensures that the human partner is well versed in safety requirements, identifying and decreasing stress in the animal, working with special needs clients and patient confidentiality, among other issues. In addition, all dogs must pass a stringent obedience test, while their human counterparts must pass a written test. Testing is rigorous, and often teams fail or have

to test several times before becoming a registered pet partner team. “It is so strict because these dogs have to be well behaved,” said Meredith Catlett, Tallulah's ower. “You can’t bring a dog into a hospital unless you can trust it.” Still, numerous safety precautions are in place each time a dog visits, including announcing their arrivals with strategically located signs, keeping the dog crated until it reaches its destination, and ensuring that the dog is healthy, clean and well groomed.

‘Heel’ing Power At UAMS, the dogs are used for two distinct purposes: activity and therapy. An animal-assisted activity is intended to improve the quality of a patient’s life, while animal-assisted therapy is a goal-driven intervention directed by a health care professional. “Having the animal-assisted programs at UAMS gives us an additional way to reach out to our patients during their recovery,” said Dr. Richard Nicholas, chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery and a strong proponent of the program. “The joy of interacting with specially trained dogs is something quite outside the normal hospital experience. The interactions are often a joy for both the patients and health care team.” With doctor’s orders, a patient can visit with a therapy dog in one of the hospital waiting rooms during its scheduled activity-related visit. During Tallulah’s first day on the

job, a family member immediately remarked about her loved one’s reaction to the dog. “She noted how the color in her cheeks had returned and said she hadn’t looked that good in weeks,” Wright said. Just having a chance to get their mind off their condition also is beneficial for patients. “Often in a hospital setting, people define themselves by their illness. When you introduce a dog into that setting, people remember their own pets and think of better days,” Catlett said. “It takes their attention off themselves for a little while.” The therapy aspect of SPOT is just getting started, but has room to grow in a several areas, said Glenn Ballard, director of University Rehabilitation. Ballard, who was instrumental in writing the program’s policy, believes that the dogs will be valuable partners in helping patients with balance, gait and relearning the activities of daily living following a stroke or physical injury. “We may ask a patient to bend over and pet the dog, but we are actually working on balance and range of motion,” Ballard said. “We’re finding ways with the dogs to make physical and occupational therapy more engaging for patients.”

A Real Treat Still in its early

stages, SPOT has become an immediate hit, Wright said, adding that staff members are just as eager as patients to see and pet the dogs. She hopes to have staff members document each patient’s reaction to the animals to help determine the success of the program. “We think these dogs are a great addition to any hospital,” Catlett said. “There is just a certain part of our soul that an animal can Find out more about satisfy. They fill a spot that therapy animals at nothing else can.”

check it out!




UAMS forms a team to take on lung cancer.



less pain, quicker recovery and shorter hospital stays for patients.” There also have been advances in chemotherapy and radiation therapy for later stage cancers, making treatment more effective and with fewer side effects. In addition, having a team dedicated to lung cancer will streamline treatment and improve the entire process for patients. Still, the lung cancer team faces a daunting task. An estimated 2,160 Arkansans will die of lung cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. That compares to 580 deaths from colon and rectum cancer, the next deadliest cancer, and 410 deaths from breast cancer. Lung cancer grows and spreads without causing symptoms that are easily detected until it’s too late. “If lung cancer is caught early, it’s usually by happenstance,” Bartter said. For example, an X-ray for a rib injury might reveal early-stage lung cancer. Only about 16 percent of lung cancer is caught early enough to be removed, and only 49 percent of those patients will be alive five years later. With that in mind, Steliga foresees the UAMS lung cancer program doing more than diagnosing and treating the disease. For example, Steliga said he’ll work to create a lung cancer support group and help raise awareness through The five-year survival rate for lung cancer the state’s Tobacco patients (including Prevention and those with late-stage cancers) is 15 percent Cessation Program.

check it out!


or much of 2009, lung specialist Dr. Thaddeus Bartter was UAMS’ first and only member of its fledgling lung cancer program. That changed in August with the key addition of lung cancer surgeon Dr. Matthew Steliga and two hematologists/ oncologists dedicated to lung cancer patients. “This is why I came to UAMS,” said Bartter, who will lead the program just as he did a similar program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. “I’m really excited because we now have a great team that’s working together to treat a very deadly disease in Arkansas.” Bartter brings a unique ability to locate and diagnose lung cancer as one of a handful of interventional pulmonologists in the country. Steliga, a Milwaukee native, is a thoracic surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive surgical procedures for lung and esophageal cancer. Steliga most recently was at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. After considering a number of job opportunities, UAMS won out. “It’s a perfect fit,” said Steliga, who also noted that he and his wife, Kelly, are new parents and her family lives nearby in Memphis. Every Thursday the team meets to determine the best treatment for newly diagnosed patients. Most cases are clear cut; either the patient can be treated with surgery or the cancer has spread, requiring a referral to a hematologist/oncologist and radiation oncologist. “We’ve seen some significant treatment advances recently,” Steliga said. “Dr. Bartter can biopsy the lymph nodes without surgery, and we can remove cancerous lesions without open surgery, which means

By David Robinson

compared to breast cancer’s 89 percent.

Dr. Thaddeus Bartter (left) and Dr. Matthew Steliga are two members of UAMS' new lung cancer team.

This is why I came to





Good to Great Institute on Aging sets sights high following $33.4 million Reynolds Foundation gift. By David Robinson


ging never looked better in Arkansas. Thanks to a $33.4 million gift, the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging is poised to raise the bar again on behalf of the state’s elderly. The gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation was on top of $48.1 million the foundation has given to the Institute on Aging since 1997, helping make it a national leader in age-related treatments, research and education. Gov. Mike Beebe, UAMS officials, supporters and community leaders celebrated UAMS’ secondlargest gift ever when it was announced by Reynolds Foundation Chairman Fred W. Smith and Foundation President Steven L. Anderson on June 4. “This will help our Institute on Aging grow and increase our recognition throughout the world,” said Dale Ronnel, chairwoman of the Institute on Aging Community Advisory Board. Institute Director Dr. Jeanne Wei pledged to honor the gift by working tirelessly and in unity with the campus and community to achieve world renown for the institute, as Smith challenged UAMS to do during the gift presentation. Wei noted that by the year 2020, there will be more people in the United States age 80 and older than newborns. “We must be prepared to care for them,” she said. 12


Most of the gift — $30.4 million — will pay for construction of four additional floors on the Institute on Aging and a pedestrian walkway that will connect the building to the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute a block away. Wei said she hopes for construction to begin in mid-2010.

The remainder will support a caregiver training program conducted through the Arkansas Aging Initiative and its statewide network of Centers on Aging. The new floors will free space for additional clinics to meet growing patient demand and for the education of medical students, residents and geriatrics fellows. The additional space also will house cutting-edge translational research on aging, longevity and Alzheimer’s disease. “This is a most magnificent gift,” said Wei, also chairwoman of the Department of Geriatrics. “We will educate generations of geriatrics health care providers and teach families of seniors and seniors themselves how to age well, live better and continue to grow.”

A Model for Success

check it out!

As part of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation’s $33.4 million gift to the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, $3 million will go to the Arkansas Aging Initiative (AAI), which oversees eight Centers on Aging across Arkansas. The $3 million will be used to replicate the home caregiver training model that was developed at the Schmieding Senior Health Center, a Center on Aging satellite in Springdale, said Dr. Claudia J. Beverly, director of the AAI. The caregiver program will be replicated initially in four of the AAI’s Centers on Aging. “I am thrilled that the Reynolds Foundation has made such a fabulous The $33.4 million gift from contribution that will enable the the Reynolds Foundation Arkansas Aging Initiative to better to the Institute on Aging prepare an in-home caregiver work was second only to a $48 force and to improve the quality of life million gift to establish the and care of older Arkansans and their UAMS Jackson T. Stephens families,” Beverly said. Spine & Neurosciences

Institute in 2001. House•Call


“Dr. Wilson’s fingerprints are on most every

health policy

issue to emerge in the state.”





uring his nine-year tenure at the helm of UAMS, Wilson has kept his eyes focused on the university’s four missions: education, patient care, research and service. Those who worked alongside him over the years say he has managed to juggle the many demands of those missions well and he is even widely

a period of growth and success unprecedented in its 130-year history. During his time as chancellor more than $460 million in construction has been completed, bolstering the main campus in Little Rock as well as UAMS resources around the state. A new college, the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, was born as class sizes in all five UAMS colleges and its graduate school grew. UAMS Medical Center and its clinics treated more patients. Research funding increased to record levels with UAMS scientists making contributions As Wilson's tenure as chancellor draws to medical care and to a close, we look back at the indelible scientific knowledge — which in 2009 was marks he left on UAMS. By Jon Parham strengthened by the credited for adding the fourth: a formal largest research grant ever received recognition of UAMS’ responsibility to by UAMS, adding nearly $20 million serve the state. for translating scientific work into “Perhaps it would’ve been easy new medical treatments more quickly. as chancellor to focus on where the UAMS programs stretched across money comes from — the clinical the state as its Area Health Education programs,” said Dr. Richard Wheeler, Centers (AHECs) grew in number; executive associate dean for the technology allowed distance learning College of Medicine. “But Dr. Wilson and telehealth, while programs focused has always emphasized the importance on the needs of older residents were of all of the UAMS missions.” opened by the UAMS Arkansas Aging Echoing that sentiment was Dr. Initiative. Lawrence Cornett, vice chancellor for research, who said Wilson understood Substantial Growth Wilson took the missions' often overlapping nature: the reins as chancellor during a time “He really recognized that in order of financial hardship, with shrinking for an academic health center to have reimbursements for medical care strong research programs, it also must from Medicare among other factors. have solid clinical programs and a Dr. Ronald Winters, dean of the strong academic backbone.” UAMS College of Health Related Wilson has led UAMS through Professions, said Wilson was »

Manon a Mission



instrumental helping UAMS survive that downtime and prepare the campus for future growth. Still, the most visible symbol of the Wilson era are the new facilities. There is the Biomedical Research Building II and College of Public Health facilities funded in part by the voterapproved plan for the state’s share of the master tobacco settlement. There also is the 12-floor Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, which opened in 2003 thanks to a gift from philanthropist Jack Stephens. By the mid 2000s, campus construction accelerated with a fivefloor expansion to the Jones Eye Institute, a new residence hall, the I. Dodd Wilson Education Building and the Psychiatric Research Institute. A 540,000-square-foot hospital opened in 2009 to replace an outgrown and outdated 1950s hospital building.


FACT: The Wilson Years

1986-2000 Dean of the UAMS College of Medicine 2000-2009 UAMS chancellor

"Because of Dr. Wilson’s vision, our students will train in state-of-theart facilities — and UAMS is better equipped to meet Arkansas’ health care needs for decades to come,” said Debra Fiser, UAMS College of Medicine dean. Wheeler called the hospital Wilson’s legacy since he was the one who lobbied campus leaders, University of Arkansas trustees, UAMS supporters and anyone else who would listen about the project’s value and potential.



“We could not have completed such a huge project,” said Richard Pierson, executive director of UAMS Medical Center, “without his understanding of the importance of the hospital.”


FACT: Total class size

in UAMS’ five colleges and graduate school during Wilson’s tenure 1,855 in 2000 2,775 in 2009/2010

A Growing Campus Dr. Kent

Westbrook, founding director of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, sounded a similar refrain about a 12-floor expansion of the Cancer Institute now under construction. “Dr. Wilson went to the Legislature and told them the Cancer Institute was critical to the state and was conducting research of national importance. His support was essential in getting the Legislature to approve its matching funds bill for our expansion. This expansion would not have been possible without his creative thinking.” Wilson’s creativity also took hold in the development of UAMS’ Psychiatric Research Institute. A longtime dream of Dr. G. Richard Smith, the institute opened in 2008 and offers inpatient psychiatric care on campus for the first time in more than 30 years. “Dr. Wilson saw the vision for the facility to improve mental health resources in Arkansas and believed it was the right thing to do,” Smith said. Donors played a significant role in most every UAMS expansion project. During Wilson’s tenure at UAMS, private gift support averaged $31 million annually. The institution also embarked

THE WILSON YEARS on its first-ever comprehensive campaign under his leadership, meeting the campaign’s $325 million goal 18 months early. In this area, he even leaves on a high note, with a $33.4 million gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation announced in June 2009 to support efforts that include a fourstory expansion to the UAMS Reynolds Institute on Aging.



of UAMS during the Wilson years Construction projects - $460 million Annual budget - $1.2 billion in 2009-2010 Annual funded research – $83 million Employees – More than 10,200

Reaching Out Dr. Joe Thompson, the

state’s surgeon general and director of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI), said that despite the growth of the UAMS campus, Wilson never lost sight of the rest of the state. His support for ACHI, the College of Public Health, the network of AHECs and the Arkansas Aging Initiative continued to demonstrate the statewide reach of UAMS, he said. Thompson and Dr. Jim Raczynski, dean of the College of Public Health, credited Wilson for leading the way when in 2004 he made the UAMS campus the first hospital and first higher education institution in Arkansas to go smoke free. Today all hospitals and public facilities in the state are smoke free. “In some way, either through his direct effort or through his support and encouragement, Dr. Wilson’s fingerprints are on most every health policy issue to emerge in the state

during his tenure as chancellor,” Thompson said. Now UAMS is in the process of establishing a satellite campus in northwest Arkansas, where the first students arrived this summer. The effort, pushed strongly by Wilson, will enable UAMS to continue increasing enrollment in its medical, nursing, pharmacy, allied health and resident physician programs — producing more health care professionals in the future for a state desperately in need of them.

Parting Words For his part, Wilson

said that becoming dean of the UAMS College of Medicine in 1986 was the perfect job for him at the time, coming from Minnesota to a state where he felt he could make a difference. Becoming chancellor, he said, was another perfect job — offering him new challenges and new opportunities — plus he didn’t have to move.



during Wilson’s nine years as chancellor Almost 2 million square feet

“The chancellor by nature of the position gets credit for a lot of things but the heavy lifting gets done by lots of people,” he said. “We’re doing our part to improve the health of Arkansas, whether it’s through our education programs and keeping those graduates at home for their careers, through our clinical programs or through discovery by our researchers. Secondarily, these efforts make a significant contribution to the state’s economy. We’re definitely going in the right direction.” House•Call


The View from Next Door A friend and and colleague shares his memories of working with Dr. Wilson. By Dr. Richard Wheeler


o what is it really like to work with Dr. I. Dodd Wilson, our retiring chancellor? For almost all the years he served as dean of the College of Medicine, I worked in an adjacent office. What do I remember most about him? He was absolutely even tempered (I only saw him get mad enough

to raise his voice once), he was absolutely fair and he was absolutely honest. You could always trust what he told you, and he always did what he said he would do. But, oddly enough, the things that make me think of him most fondly are sounds. He walked around the office a lot and had a funny way of shuffling his shoes on the carpet and rattling the keys in his pockets, so I could

always tell when it was him. His two sons are quite musical, and he would bring their preproduction CDs to my office early in the mornings and we would sit there listening to music. And then there were cats! He hates cats. I snuck into his office once and rigged his computer to make a meowing sound every time he got an e-mail. It took him a little while to figure

out what it was. When he found out it was coming from his computer, he also somehow knew I was the one who put it on there (go figure!). He was, and is, a great boss and a great friend. He and his wife, Ginger, have been wonderful to my wife, Beth, and me, and we will always be grateful for their friendship. Dr. Richard Wheeler is executive associate dean for academic affairs in the UAMS College of Medicine.

The Mrs.

Behind the Man C hancellor I. Dodd Wilson is not the only person to whom UAMS will bid farewell this fall. His wife, Ginger, has been an important member of the UAMS family since Wilson took the position of dean of the College of Medicine 23 years ago. “Mrs. Wilson joins her husband at most all events and has been an outstanding supporter of UAMS,” said Dr. Kent Westbrook, distinguished professor



in the UAMS Department of Surgery. Gloria Wright, director of the Department of Volunteer Services and Auxiliary, said Ginger Wilson has been a “connectional person,” helping people in the community, as well as new faculty and staff members, get involved at UAMS. “She has really helped build up the hospital’s Auxiliary and has been equally supportive of the Cancer Institute’s Auxiliary,” Wright said.


“For 23 years, both as chancellor and as dean of the College of Medicine, Dodd Wilson has been an outstanding and tireless leader for UAMS and the

Wilson’s Ways

Quiz yourself on some fun facts you might not have known about our longtime chancellor.

state of Arkansas. Dodd has taken our state’s academic health center to new heights. It really is an impressive tenure.”

1. Which of these favorite hobbies do

6. When he was a young adult in

Dr. Wilson and his wife, Ginger, enjoy

Minnesota, Dr. Wilson helped his father


build what?

A. Shopping for decorative art

A. Birdhouse

B. Golf

B. Cabin on a lake

C. Zumba

C. Igloo

2. Which of these odd jobs helped Dr.

7. You’ll find Dr. Wilson checking his

Wilson through his Dartmouth College

computer first thing every morning


and throughout the day to keep a

A. Bartender Dr. Alan Sugg University of Arkansas System president

pulse on what ongoing passion?

B. Construction worker

A. Stock market

C. Disc jockey

B. Fantasy Football C. Facebook

3. Dr. Wilson’s son, Dan, is a Grammy

“As a leader, I. Dodd Wilson

Award-winning songwriter for what

8. As a young man, Dr. Wilson

country music group’s chart-topping ode

excelled in what “team” activity?

to the Bush administration?

A. Barbershop quartet

has always produced

A. The Dixie Chicks

B. Lacrosse

achievement without

B. Brooks & Dunn

C. Water polo

being flashy. His calm,

C. Dick & Melissa’s Good Time

steady hand has guided

Jug Band

9. Due to a serious weakness for sugary treats, Dr. Wilson

UAMS through a time of unprecedented growth while

4. Among several others, which of these

earned what nickname

maintaining focus on the

publications is delivered monthly to

among office colleagues?

tenets of care and service at

Dr. Wilson’s home?

the heart of this institution.”

A. Cookie Monster

A. Men’s Journal

B. Snack Attack

B. Rolling Stone

C. The Ice-Cream Man

C. Cat Fancy 10. Dr. Wilson’s mind has been known 5. Dr. Wilson has traveled all over the

as a “steel trap” for what specific type

world, but he’s not a big fan of which of

of information?

these vacation extravagances?

Governor Mike Beebe

A. Number crunching

A. Ocean beaches

B. Show tune lyrics

B. Fine dining

C. Movie quotes

C. World’s Biggest Ball of Wax Answers: 1. A, 2. B, 3. A, 4. B, 5.A, 6. B, 7. A, 8. A, 9. A, 10. A




Did You

Know Satellite Support

Caring for Kids The children’s inpatient unit at the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute began accepting patients in June, marking the first time in 30 years that UAMS has provided inpatient care to children. The children’s inpatient unit will treat children ages 2 to 12 and represents a new approach to treating children with mental illness, relying on specialists in psychiatry, psychology, nursing, social work and education as well as speech, language and occupational therapy.

The UAMS satellite campus in Fayetteville recently received a boost with a $1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation. The funds from the Bentonville-based retailer will be used to renovate the first floor of the former Washington Regional Medical Center hospital building into conference space and classrooms as well as a clinical skills training center for the UAMS Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy. Eventual enrollment at the new satellite campus is expected to be between 250-300, along with resident physicians who will serve residencies at area hospitals and clinics.



Bank on it A statewide cord blood banking network based at UAMS has met a matching funds goal to ensure $500,000 for the trailblazing program. The Newborn Umbilical Cord Blood Initiative successfully raised $250,000 to match $250,000 given more than a year ago by a donor who wished to remain anonymous, ensuring the necessary equipment and training to establish the cord blood banking network. Gov. Mike Beebe signed into law in 2007 a measure to allow Arkansas to begin storing and researching potentially life-saving blood cells harvested from umbilical cords following the birth of healthy children.

Team Effort Two UAMS surgeons teamed up recently to perform the first two robotic parathyroid surgeries in Arkansas, performed one week apart. After head and neck surgeon Dr. Brendan C. Stack Jr. (above right) diagnosed each patient’s condition and found the faulty parathyroid glands in each patient’s chest, heart surgeon Dr. Gareth Tobler (above left) and Stack used the da Vinci Surgical System robot to remove the glands. In these two cases, the patients’ glands had developed benign tumors that were secreting excessive hormones. Removing one parathyroid gland leaves patients with three others to regulate the amount of calcium in the blood and the bones.

Advancing Research UAMS recently received its largest ever research grant — $20 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — to join an exclusive group of medical institutions nationwide. The Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Center for Research Resources of the NIH is a highly sought after grant among institutions that aim to translate basic science discoveries into speedier treatments and cures for patients. The grant will boost the UAMS Center for Clinical and Translational Research. Dr. Curtis Lowery, chairman of the UAMS Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is the director of the center. The consortium of grantees began in 2006. In 2012, when the program is fully implemented, the consortium will link about 60 institutions to energize the discipline of clinical and translational science.





Caroline Stevenson’s son inspired her support of the Psychiatric Research Institute. By Liz Caldwell

Beacon of HoPE C

aroline Stevenson remembers being caught unawares when her eldest son began having difficulty as a senior at Catholic High School in the late 1970s. Doug became forgetful and his thought processes seemed “skewed.” Then on a spring break ski trip, her “usually sweet” teen turned difficult, contrary and argumentative. A good student until then, Doug barely made it through graduation. That summer he was hospitalized — the first of many attempts to find out what was wrong and find an effective treatment. Eventually, Doug was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder — a thought and mood disorder. Stevenson was devastated. Thirty years ago the ability to diagnose properly and to prescribe medications that were really helpful was primitive and experimental, often with drastic side effects, she said. There was little community support or residential options. “Arkansas didn’t have much to offer,” Stevenson said. Not so anymore. In December 2008, UAMS opened its Psychiatric Research Institute adjoining the new UAMS Medical Center. It combines treatment, education and research in one state-of-the-art facility. To Stevenson, it’s a beacon of hope that shines the light on the fact that mental illness is a physical illness of the brain. “It makes a statement to all of Arkansas that psychiatry, mental illness and brain research are major focuses in this day and time,” she said. After her son became ill, Stevenson, with the help of other families, began Help and Hope Inc., a local 22


Caroline Stevenson has long been an advocate of mental health awareness.

support and advocacy group for families struggling with mental illness. It became the first state affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and she was later elected to the national board. In 1985, she became involved with the UAMS Department of Psychiatry when then-department chairman Dr. Fred Guggenheim formed Friends of Research in Psychiatry and asked her to be volunteer coordinator. Under Dr. G. Richard Smith, Guggenheim’s successor, the group transitioned into an advisory board for the

“long way

We have come a

in understanding the

chemistry and the function of the brain.”

department, then it became an advisory board for the Psychiatric Research Institute. Stevenson served on the board until January and continues to support its mission. “We have come a long way in understanding the chemistry and the function of the brain,” she said. “When I see that building sitting smack dab in the middle of the UAMS campus, it makes a statement that we’re not just on the fringes and that we can talk about brain disorders and mental illness. We don’t have to be tied to the stigma that has always been a part of that.”

Today, Doug lives on his own in Minnesota. He drives and has attended college. Stevenson is proud of how he has dealt with his illness. She wishes treatment and research like that at the Psychiatric Research Institute had been available for her son. “Families are courageous, people who are dealing with it are courageous, and sometimes we just can’t do it alone.”



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

G etting to Know You Joe Cook

Joe Cook believes that part of his job is making people happy. As administrator for the UAMS Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, he accomplishes that task by juggling the Institute’s day-to-day scheduling and handling financial and personnel issues, all while keeping a smile on his face. Job title: Administrator Years as a UAMS employee: 19 Department: I previously worked in the College of Nursing and Department of Psychiatry. I’ve been at the Spine Institute since 2002. What was your job before arriving at UAMS: I was in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years. My last assignment was at the Pentagon as a budget analyst for the secretary of the Air Force for financial management. What is the most rewarding part of your job: I enjoy solving problems, resolving issues and getting involved in various groups and activities on campus.

Where is your favorite vacation spot: Anywhere on the water, but especially the beaches between Pensacola and Destin, Fla. Whom do you most admire and why: I most admire my wife, Marilyn. She did the majority of raising our four “yours, mine and ours” sons, and she cared for three family members after each was diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Plus, she’s put up with me for 34 years. What kind of music do you most enjoy: I enjoy a wide range of music from Sarah Brightman to Will Smith to The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Housecall | Fall 2009  

A Quarterly Publication of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

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