UAMS Regional Programs, formerly Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), was founded in 1973, through the combined efforts of the Governor, the State Legislature, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), as a means to encourage UAMS medical school graduates to remain in Arkansas, and help address the state’s shortage and uneven distribution of primary care physicians.What began with medical and residency training 44 years ago now also encompasses nursing, pharmacy, mid-level and allied health professions, as well as a statewide network for health career pipeline programs, continuing professional education, library resources, patient-centered quality care initiatives, and telehealth connections to cutting-edge medicine. This is a long-term pipeline that requires long-term commitment.  Therefore, it is vital that we encourage plenty of Arkansans’ brightest and best students to pursue health careers.

UAMS Regional Programs serve as an educational outreach network for UAMS and the principal means to decentralize medical and other health professions education throughout the state.  It’s mission is to improve the health of Arkansans by training skilled and caring health professionals and delivering high quality patient-centered primary care.

In an effort to ensure an adequate healthcare workforce to care for future Arkansans, eight teaching centers were established in Fayetteville/Springdale, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Pine Bluff, Texarkana, Magnolia, Helena-West Helena, and Batesville to expose future health professionals to underserved communities and provide a more varied hands-on experience than they might receive in a traditional urban, academic environment.