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UAMS Gets Federal Grant For Fort Smith Teaching Center

LITTLE ROCK — The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences said Tuesday it has received $900,000 in federal funding to allow it to increase the number of resident physicians at its regional center in Fort Smith.

The money is provided under the Teaching Health Care Center Program, a part of the federal Affordable Care Act.

The program is in its third year. The latest round of grant money will fund the salaries, benefits and other costs associated with adding two new resident physicians and continued funding for four others added over the last two years, UAMS said.

“We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to have these additional residents in our training program,” said Don Heard, director of UAMS West. “We believe it immediately will benefit health care in western Arkansas and provide more doctors in Arkansas in the near future. Historically, about two-thirds of the physicians who finish their residencies here remain to practice medicine in the state and region.”

With the two new residents, UAMS West has a total of 30 residents in its training program.

“That’s the most residents we’ve ever had in our program since our creation back in the mid-1970s,” Heard said.

The Teaching Health Center Program expands residency training in community-based settings. Residents are trained in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, geriatrics, and general dentistry.

The $900,000 award was part of $83.4 million in funding to 60 teaching health centers like UAMS West across the nation to help train more than 550 residents during the 2014-15 academic year.

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