in the cardio-respiratory care program in the UAMS College of Health Professions. “It’s an awesome feeling to know that I can go back into my community and improve or make something better for someone else.”

Surveys conducted by UAMS show that students who attend MASH have a high rate of continuing their education in the medical field, with 95 percent more likely to pursue a health career. Perhaps more importantly, MASH participants are more likely to work in primary care and in rural and medically underserved areas of the state, where MASH does much of its recruiting.

“A lot of times, when they go to MASH, that’s when the light comes on,” Howell said. “That’s when they get excited – that’s when they say, ‘Yes! This is what I really want to do.’”

MASH is free for students thanks to community support and partnerships with Arkansas Farm Bureau, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Baptist Health, among others.

Arkansas Farm Bureau was recognized for 25 years of significant support of the MASH program. Moore presented Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Warren Carter with a commemorative plaque.

“We get our direction for everything we do from county leaders – and they’ve told us that the MASH program is a priority,” Carter said. “We plan to support this program for many, many years to come. Thank you for allowing this program to be what it is. It’s important to our rural communities, to Farm Bureau members, and to our state as a whole.”

Vic Snyder, M.D., corporate medical director for external affairs with Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, spoke about his own experience pursuing a medical career, and how programs like MASH help students from rural areas make connections.

“This kind of program is really, really important, and it will help Arkansas as a lot of the kids go back into those areas,” he said.

The MASH program was recently awarded a $65,000 grant from the Blue & You Foundation to further expand its reach. Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation in 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in Arkansas.

Mark Jansen, M.D., associate professor in the College of Medicine Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and medical director for Regional Campuses, said that MASH is there to provide guidance to the age-old question: what do you want to be when you grow up?

“We’ve got a lot of health challenges coming up, and we have those challenges magnified in the rural areas,” Jansen said. “That is where the mission of Regional Campuses, and the success of the MASH program dovetail so nicely.”