First UAMS College of Medicine Building

First UAMS College of Medicine Building

The vision of a medical school in Arkansas was once a dream for eight Little Rock physicians; one that was realized in what began as an independent medical department with six faculty members and 20 students in 1879. From its humble beginnings, the College of Medicine is now one of six academic units of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, a world-renowned, comprehensive medical center with several centers of excellence including the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute, and the Psychiatric Research Institute. The Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System and Arkansas Children’s Hospital are affiliates of UAMS.  There are also regional centers and clinics throughout the state.

Groundbreaking, 1951

Groundbreaking ceremony for the current campus on West Markham, 1951. Left to right: Arkansas Governor Sid McMath, Dr. Lewis Jones, and Dr. Hayden C. Nicholson.

The College of Medicine has grown from six departments to 29 departments and numerous specialty divisions and has graduated more than 10,000 physicians since its inception. Like the founders who set out to improve the practice of medicine, the College of Medicine continues to fulfill its unique role as the state’s foundation for education, research, clinical care and outreach efforts. It was their initial commitment to ensure that all Arkansans have access to excellent health care that still remains at the very heart of the institution. The College of Medicine’s many milestones are great achievements in both the history of the state and the history of medicine. These achievements solidify a tradition of an extraordinary legacy and one that continues to grow.

The College of Medicine History website was made possible by the generous gifts of Mrs. Virginia Henker, Richard B. Clark, M.D., and Dr. and Mrs. Richard Sundermann. We also thank Amanda Saar, Head of the Historical Research Center and History of Medicine Associates, for her time and knowledge of our great history.