UAMS College of Medicine is a medical school that is part of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, a state-run university in the U.S. state of Arkansas and part of the University of Arkansas System. The primary campus is in Little Rock and is affiliated with UAMS Medical Center, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and Central Arkansas Veterans HealthCare System. A branch campus, UAMS Northwest is in Fayetteville. It is one of three medical schools in Arkansas, with NYITCOM in Jonesboro and Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Smith being the other two.
The University Of Arkansas College Of Medicine was founded in October, 1879 by eight Arkansas physicians, led by Dr. P. O. Hooper of Little Rock. The physicians pooled $5,000 to acquire the former Sperindo Restaurant and Hotel in downtown Little Rock, the first location of the medical school at that time known as the Medical Department of Arkansas Industrial University (later renamed University of Arkansas). The medical school was housed in several locations during the early 20th century, including the Old State House, the former Arkansas State Capitol, before using funding provided by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Public Works Administration and an Arkansas tax on beer and liquor to build a new campus in 1935 next to the Little Rock City Hospital.
In 1951, Arkansas Governor Sid McMath used cigarette tax funds to construct a new University Hospital and education facilities on a 26-acre site on West Markham Street in what was then the outskirts of Little Rock. The College of Medicine moved to this location in 1956 when construction on the new University of Arkansas Medical Center was completed and remains there today. A new Medical Center replaced the old University Hospital in 2009. Since 1956 the UAMS College of Medicine and medical center have expanded from a medical school with a charity hospital to a large academic health center with numerous related health colleges and research institutes.
The College of Medicine has grown from six departments to 29 departments and divisions and has graduated more than 10,000 physicians since its inception. Like the founders who set out to improve the practice of medicine, the College of Medicine continues to fulfill its unique role as the state’s foundation for education, research, and clinical care and outreach efforts. It was their initial commitment to ensure that all Arkansans have access to excellent health care that still remains at the very heart of the institution. The College of Medicine’s many milestones are great achievements in both the history of the state and the history of medicine. These achievements solidify a tradition of an extraordinary legacy and one that continues to grow.