Family and Preventive Medicine Department Celebrates 40 Years

department of family and preventive medicine anniversary Dr. Knight Daniel Knight, M.D., (right) chair of the UAMS Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, welcomes guests at the department's 40th anniversary celebration at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion.

department of family and preventive medicine anniversary Beebe Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (right) greets guests at the anniversary celebration Nov. 21.

Nov. 27, 2013 | Having trained more than 250 practicing family physicians and countless medical students in the principles of family medicine and continuity of care, the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine in the UAMS College of Medicine recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The department houses five clinics and programs, including the Family Medical Center, Employee Walk-in Clinic (added in July 2012), Student Employee Health Services, Student Health Clinic and the Prevention, Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program.

To celebrate the milestone, the department hosted an anniversary dinner Nov. 21 at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. Joe Thompson, M.D., Arkansas surgeon general, director of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement and professor in the UAMS College of Medicine and UAMS College of Public Health, was the keynote speaker at the event.

Thompson highlighted the new opportunities that family medicine physicians will be receiving through the Arkansas Payment Improvement Initiative that will create a better payment system to meet the needs of Arkansas patients and health care providers.

“Moving from a fee-for-service system to one focused on quality outcomes and patient-centered care, provides unprecedented clinical leadership and financial opportunities for family medicine practitioners,” Thompson said.

UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., Daniel Knight, M.D, chairman of the UAMS Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and associate professor, and Jim McAdams, realtor at ERA Real Estate in Hot Springs also spoke at the dinner.

“I am honored to recognize the amazing work our physicians, faculty and employees in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine have done to produce more and better family medicine doctors,” Rahn said. “The need is great in family medicine, and it is encouraging to know that we are taking actions to fill this need in our state and country.”

Knight, acting chair of the department since June 2008 and permanent chair since July 2009, said one of the most pivotal changes he has seen in the department is the naming of the UAMS Family Medical Center as a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home, which provides care to a large underserved population in central Arkansas.

The UAMS Family Medical Center is Arkansas’ first Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home, the highest level awarded by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Through this designation, patients receive same-day, urgent care appointments; support for managing conditions; continuity of care; high quality of care based on the best and latest scientific knowledge; a team of experts to work with each patient in managing their health and wellness; surveys to encourage patient feedback; and knowledge of each patient’s medical history. 

Knight also praised the Family Medicine Clerkship, which is a partnership between the department and UAMS Regional Programs to provide junior and senior medical students with hands-on, community experience focusing on outpatient management of medical problems commonly encountered by family medicine physicians. He also noted the accomplishments of the Community Research Group, which was added in 2011.

 “Since the addition of the Community Research Group, it has grown from three to five full-time doctoral faculty members and over 40 research assistants and staff,” Knight said. “Research through the group expands the body of knowledge in early childhood development, which provides learning opportunities for the parents and teachers of students throughout the state.”

Arlo Kahn, M.D., professor in the UAMS Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, said the department is pivotal in developing strong family doctors and in providing current physicians with high-quality, continuing medical education.

“It has been a pleasure to watch the department evolve over the past 40 years into an integral part of the medical school and a strong partner with UAMS Regional Programs in preparing our students and residents to meet the needs of our state for a strong primary care workforce,” Kahn said. “In four decades, family medicine as a specialty has moved from a concept into a position of leadership for the health care system, and our department has grown in a manner to thrive within a reformed system of health care delivery.”

The Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, formerly known as the Department of Family and Community Medicine, was established in 1969 as a division and became a department on July 1, 1973. The first location for the department was the first floor of St. Vincent’s Infirmary School of Nursing. In November 1973, it was moved to a clinic at 5th and Cedar Streets. John Tudor, M.D., served as the first acting chair until October 1974, when Benjamin Saltzman, M.D., became chair.

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