EL DORADO, Ark. (UAMS-Benjamin Waldrum) — The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has received a $500,000 gift to support the creation of a new regional campus in El Dorado. The gift will have a far-reaching impact, not only for El Dorado, but for patients in South Arkansas and across the state. The donor asked to remain anonymous.
“We are grateful for this transformative investment in the future of health care for El Dorado and our state,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA. “We are increasing our presence in the community through expansion of our Regional Campuses, and El Dorado is the first step in increasing access to UAMS-quality care.”
This gift establishes the Dr. David M. Yocum III El Dorado Regional Program Fund for Excellence, dedicated to building a regional campus in El Dorado.
Yocum, one of the first thoracic surgeons in Arkansas and an El Dorado native, died in 2012. He was a 1946 graduate of the UAMS College of Medicine. Yocum was an assistant clinical professor of surgery at UAMS, was on the teaching staff of what is now the UAMS South Regional Campus and served as a foundation board member for the College of Medicine. Beginning in 1951, he practiced general and thoracic surgery in El Dorado for several decades.
“We are overwhelmed by this donor’s generosity to establish a fund in honor of Dr. Yocum to bring a regional campus to El Dorado,” said Amy Wenger, M.H.S.A., vice chancellor for Regional Campuses. “We are working with the Medical Center of South Arkansas team to open a family medicine residency program, where our residents can learn up close from the people they serve. Working together, we look forward to creating a destination in El Dorado for our graduates to make a lasting impact for the community.”
UAMS has committed to building its ninth regional campus in El Dorado. The majority of family practice physicians in rural areas of the state are trained at one of UAMS’ eight regional campuses. Creating a regional campus will provide an influx of physicians and health care professionals to create a sustainable educational and training pipeline, and make it easier to maintain consistent levels of care.
Regional Campuses, originally called Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), began in 1973 through the efforts of then-Gov. Dale Bumpers, the Arkansas Legislature and UAMS to train medical residents and provide clinical care and health education services around the state. Its eight regional campuses are located in Batesville, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Helena-West Helena, Jonesboro, Magnolia, Pine Bluff and Texarkana. UAMS is working to expand the number of campuses across the state.