• 86 plastic-glass partitions, or three-sided cubicles, are being installed to safeguard lawmakers in Room A of the Multi-Agency Complex.

• Te House Management Committee authorized House staff members to buy partitions to protect representatives and employees in the chamber and to buy a system that would allow remote voting within the Capitol complex.

According to Arkansas Online, Sen. Jimmy Hickey, who is the Senate president pro tempore, said, “We have been working ... for months, just trying to make sure we are going to have a session that is smooth and we have thought through everything that we can, and we have everything in writing. Legislative leaders want to make sure that lawmakers are going to be safe and


the public is going to be allowed to participate in the regular session.” At this writing Marty Garrity reports that the leadership is working on plans for controlling the number of people in the buildings and enforcing mask wearing guidelines. She says that all involved are trying to balance public participation with safety. In a normal session, much of the AAC staff and many county officials spend countless hours in and out of the Capitol for meetings, testimonies, and to sit in on the various sessions in the chambers. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, hopefully these many precautions and accommodations will make all feel a little more comfortable about the time they will be spending in the Capitol for the 2021 Legislative Session.

UAMS gets $2.83 million for rural physician expansion

By Talk Business and Politics staff

physicians in rural Arkansas. Te award is for fiscal year 2021, which began in July. Previ-


ously, the program had been awarded $4.6 million spread over four years beginning in fiscal year 2020. Te Arkansas Medical Education Primary Care Partnerships

project aims to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in rural areas and other medically underserved parts of the state. It also includes specific efforts to create pipelines to medical education for minority students. Te grant comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration. Te project is a partnership among the UAMS College of

Medicine, UAMS Regional Campuses across the state, and the UAMS Department of Family & Preventive Medicine. Te effort to increase medical education for minority students is a partner- ship between UAMS, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Philander Smith College. “Te number of available physicians per population in the

Natural State is among the lowest in the nation and providers of all specialties are facing a serious shortfall, especially in Arkan- sas’ rural communities,” said U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., who is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Our


he University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has received $2.83 million in additional funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to train and retain primary care

current public health emergency puts an emphasis on the need to overcome this shortage. Te funds from this award will help more UAMS students prepare for residencies in Arkansas, keep- ing more top talent in our state and helping to close the gap on the doctor shortage in Arkansas.” Over 500,000 Arkansans — over one-sixth of its population

— live in an area defined by the federal government as lacking the adequate number of health professionals to serve the popula- tion. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, 50 out of 75 counties in the state fully or partially meet that definition. “At UAMS, it’s part of our mission to improve the health of

all Arkansans, and one way we are working to meet that goal is by recruiting and training a diverse group of future health care professionals from across the state,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA. “It’s a big job that we cannot do alone, making programs like these built on community partnerships all the more important. Together, we are ensuring a healthier future by laying the groundwork today.” Te program addresses the issue of physician shortages from

several angles, including strengthening the pipeline for students interested in health care careers by supporting them at each stage of their education through a series of programs. Tis specifically targets students from rural and underserved areas of the state. Te program also creates more opportunities for medical stu-

dents to experience primary care practice in rural and under- served communities across Arkansas through service projects, mentoring, and a new Honors Program in Rural and Urban Un- derserved Primary Care.


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