Julep Cup Jaunt Raises $90,000 for UAMS Programs

Chris Marsh and Nikki Lovell, UAMS Consortium members and co-chairs of this year's Julep Cup Jaunt, enjoy the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Juelp Cup Jaunt guests show off their Kentucky Derby attire on stage.

Guests enjoy the festive atmosphere at the event, which raised more than $90,000 for the UAMS NICU and OB/GYN Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Guests bid on live and silent auction items at Julep Cup Jaunt.

May 14, 2014 | It was a light-hearted atmosphere at the 11th annual Julep Cup Jaunt as 300 guests decked out in derby attire watched the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3.

The event brought in more than $90,000 for two UAMS programs benefitting babies and pregnant women. The UAMS neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), specializing in the care of fragile newborns, has been a recipient since 2007. The OB/GYN Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, focusing on the treatment and management of high-risk pregnancies, was added in 2012.

The Julep Cup Jaunt was held in the Fred W. Smith Conference Center on the 12th floor of the UAMS Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute. The crowd cheered as California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby on a 12 ft. by 24 ft. theater-style screen.

Sponsored by the UAMS Consortium, the event has become central Arkansas’ premier Kentucky Derby watch party and silent and live auction. Consortium members Chris Marsh and Nikki Lovell served as co-chairs of the event, and J.T. Ferstl, UAMS Consortium chair, spoke.

Addressing the crowd in a video were Paul Wendel, M.D., professor and maternal-fetal medicine specialist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UAMS; Whit Hall, M.D., professor of neonatology in the UAMS College of Medicine; and Ashley Ross, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and UAMS NICU medical director. They talked about how the UAMS Consortium is funding services to improve the care of preemies and their families.

“The connection between maternal-fetal medicine and neonatology, in my opinion, needs to be the strongest and most collegial aspects of medicine,” said Wendel. “We are going to hand them a baby, and the better, fatter, older, more mature and less injured the baby is, the better they are going to be able to produce the results the family wants and that is to take home the healthiest baby possible.”

The patients and their families are just as vital to the quality of care for preemies at UAMS, Hall said.

“The most important part of the team is the patient and their mother or father,” he said. “When we look at the patients and their families, many have to stay here for weeks and weeks on end. We try to make that as easy for them as possible.”

One way that the UAMS NICU makes it easier for families is with a family area designed specifically for parents caring for their preemie, Ross said. This allows them to stay close to their baby as much as possible.

“The UAMS Consortium provided money for our family area in our neonatal intensive care unit, which is an incredible asset,” he said. “It’s a place where families can cook small meals and it’s a place for them to do their laundry. It’s because of the partnership with the Consortium that we are able to provide these services for families.”

Autumn Medler knows the value of these services. In the video she shared how her son, Caleb, who was born at UAMS at 26 weeks and spent 84 days in the NICU, is a now a “happy and healthy” 18-month-old.

“After experiencing other facilities and having the ability to experience UAMS, this is an amazing facility — from the maternal-fetal medicine to the NICU,” she said. “There are no words that can describe being able to visit daily with the doctors about my care and about Caleb’s care.”

To continue to provide and expand services for NICU families, the Julep Cup Jaunt crowd bid on silent and live auction items. Silent auction items included art, gift cards, hunting equipment, and theater tickets. Live auction items included box seats at Oaklawn Park, a vacation village in Steamboat Springs, Colo., and a duck hunting trip with Hall.

Sponsors included The Hat Club, Mitchell Williams, Ferstle Valuation Services, UARK Federal Credit Union, Windstream, Iberia Bank, Coliers International, Delta Trust, TC Print Solutions, JPMS Cox, First Arkansas Bank & Trust, Clark Contractors, CenterPoint Energy, US Foods, and Bankers Insurance.

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