AEDC Commentary: UAMS a healthy competitor in the race to recruit talent to the Natural State

Little Rock, Ark. (Nov. 30, 2021) – Each month, the Arkansas Inc. Podcast invites state and national leaders to discuss the most pressing economic development topics. These subject matter experts and influencers provide a closer look at the opportunities and trends happening in The Natural State.

Dr. Cam Patterson, the chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, appeared on the Arkansas Inc. Podcast in November to discuss the role UAMS and healthcare play in economic development in Arkansas.

As chancellor, Dr. Patterson oversees UAMS, the largest employer in the state, with operations in 73 of Arkansas’ 75 counties and more than 10,000 employees. According to Patterson, UAMS is a complex organization that has a major impact on Arkansans throughout the state, from Little Rock to the rural reaches of Arkansas.

“When I talk to people about UAMS they often think of one component of UAMS as being the whole thing. We are all across the state. We’ve got eight regional campuses across the state; we’re about to add a ninth in El Dorado. We’re very excited about that. We provide primary care services across the state. We educate over 70% of care professionals who practice here in the state of Arkansas. So those missions touch really everybody here in our state. And we feel that if there is some community, some person who has difficulty in accessing healthcare, that’s our responsibility. It’s not the county’s responsibility. It’s not the city’s responsibility. We’re a state entity. So, we are looking at what are the ways that we can make sure that everyone is connected to the healthcare system, and everyone has equal access to the healthcare system,” said Patterson.

As an educational institution, UAMS produces medical professionals who fill the state’s talent pipeline. UAMS has been successful in keeping its students in Arkansas; UAMS has the #2 medical school in the country for retaining graduates in-state. UAMS also brings world-class medical professionals to Arkansas who are drawn by UAMS’ reputation and the amenities that The Natural State has to offer.

“What we find is that if we can convince people to come here and see the state, get them to come to Little Rock, get them to see Northwest Arkansas and all the great things that are going there, to appreciate the fact that you can be in any part of the state from Little Rock within about three hours, and that there’s so much to do, especially in terms of outdoor activities, it becomes a much easier sell,” said Patterson.

Looking forward, Patterson plans for UAMS to continue its growth with new construction in Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas. Using UAMS’ strategic plan Vision 2029 as a guide, Patterson hopes to make Arkansas the healthiest state in the region, improving life for all Arkansans.

“Our goal for Vision 2029 is that by 2029, Arkansas will be the healthiest state in this region. I think that that’s an attainable goal, but to get there, we’ve got a lot of hard work to do and we’re ready to do it,” said Patterson.

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