UAMS Programs

Several administrative and clinical programs were developed under the umbrella of UAMS during the years 1981 – 1994. At the request of UAMS faculty working at ACH, and with the support of Dean Thomas Bruce, a decision was made that these physicians should have their own billing group. The Children’s University Medical Group (CUMG) opened for business in February 1983 under the leadership of Gayle Fiser and Alicia Quinn. That group operated in the black from its inception and served UAMS physicians working at ACH extremely well. During these years, Dr. Fiser worked closely with some of the senior leaders of the Arkansas legislature and AR Medicaid and developed funding for several administrative structures which facilitated the growth of programs directed by the Department of Pediatrics. These included the Child Health and Family Life Institute (CHFLI) and the Child Health Management System (CHMS), which provided for expanded Medicaid support for these programs.

The James L. Dennis Development Center (DDC; named for James L. Dennis, the retired Chancellor of UAMS who worked at the DDC for several years) became a UAMS program in the 1980’s and continued with the enhanced financial support provided by CHMS. Multi-disciplinary team and individual medical evaluations were provided at the DDC for children with development delays, developmental disabilities, and behavior problems. In 1988, 1,893 multi-disciplinary evaluations and 3,039 individual patient contacts occurred at the DDC.

The KIDS First program, an early childhood educational/medical intervention program, began in 1990 with the support of CHFLI and CHMS. The program targeted pre-school children with double vulnerability, both medical and social. This program grew from the lessons learned as the Department of Pediatrics served as a site for the multi-site Infant Health and Development program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The KIDS First program, directed by Dr. Patrick Casey, expanded during the 1990s from its original location in Little Rock to 11 sites around Arkansas, serving more than 700 pre-school children on any given day.

Following Dr. Fiser’s vision of starting an applied research unit within the Department of Pediatrics, the Center for Applied Research and Evaluation (CARE) was founded in 1990 under the leadership of Dr. Patrick Casey. A multi-disciplinary faculty was recruited to this research unit and faculty successfully competed for millions of dollars of research grant funding over the years. Faculty recruited in CARE in the early years included Drs. Kelly Kelleher, Paula Roberson, Bettye Caldwell, Charlotte Hobbs, James Robbins, Mary Aitken, Fussell Kirby, J. Mick Tilford, Roscoe Dykman, and Perla Vargas.