Betty Lowe, M.D.

Dr. Betty Lowe was perhaps the most esteemed of all Pediatric faculty during the Bob Fiser years. She was a dynamo whose intelligence and personality drove her to the highest level of Pediatric leadership in the country. But at heart she was a clinician and teacher, and she excelled at both.

Dr. Lowe grew up in a small town in Arkansas and derived her focus on education from her parents, both of whom were teachers. She graduated from the University of Arkansas and then from UAMS in 1956, one of three women in her medical school class. After an internship at UAMS in Pediatrics, she moved to Boston and spent a few years in training at the Boston Children’s Medical Center. In an oral history interview with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Lowe said, “Those were great years. Mary Ellen Avery was a fellow in Neonatology, and Jackie Noonan was a fellow in Cardiology. The teachers, of course, were just superb. You had Charles Janeway and Dr. Diamond, among many others.” She then returned to Arkansas. She said, ”It never occurred to me to not come home.” After a Chief Resident year under Dr. Ted Panos at UAMS, she joined a group practice in Texarkana. In 1975 she moved to UAMS to become the Director of Education at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She said, “Had they offered me the job of Medical Director, which is what I became, I would never come, because I did not like that aspect of things.” In 1977 she became Medial Director of ACH, “because it became apparent in the early years that either we must have someone from the medical side deeply involved in hospital administration, or we would never get what we needed. It also became apparent to me that, well, this was a job perhaps I ought to try to do and see how well it works out. I had in mind that I would do this for five or six years, and then I’d switch back.” But she never did, and she served during most of the years of incredible growth at ACH, until she retired.

From her earliest years at UAMS/ACH, Dr. Lowe developed a special interest in rheumatology. She trained by visiting other centers in Houston and Memphis, and by attending rheumatology focused meetings. She opened a weekly rheumatology clinic at ACH, treating Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and related conditions. By 1981 she was following about 130 children with JRA.

During the busy years of clinical and administrative duties, she rose in leadership roles in the American Academy of Pediatrics. She served as Chair of the Arkansas chapter of the AAP from 1974-1977, District Chair of District VII from 1986-1993, Vice-President during 1992-1993, and she served as the first female President of the AAP during 1993-1994. Read the transcript of Dr. Lowe’s  interview with Eileen Ouellette, MD, JD on August 15, 2005.

Dr. Betty Lowe was a unique and accomplished clinician, teacher, and administrative leader, and she played a major role in the growth of the Department of Pediatrics for several decades.