I have had a number of different views of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The first view was as as a grade-schooler when I accompanied my grandmother to what was in the 1950’s, considered “the indigent hospital” when she had bleeding from a duodenal ulcer. The care she received was excellent.

My next major view was as a medical student at this institution. It was clear to me that both education and clinical care were extremely important to the leadership of the campus, and particularly to the Department of Medicine. This flowed from the genesis of the character and mission of the department as articulated more than 40 years ago by the late Dr. Richard Ebert when he began his chairmanship. His belief that education flourished in a nurturing and supportive environment instilled a sense of cordiality and collegiality that has persisted. This is an environment where residents are happy, where they learn, and where there is easy and open interchange between students, residents, fellows, and faculty.

My next view of the campus was as a junior faculty member following my residency and fellowship completed elsewhere. I returned in 1980 and was impressed that the view of UAMS as “the indigent hospital” had been replaced by the understanding that high quality care was delivered in primary and tertiary care to all patients, regardless of pay status.

The private practice of faculty had grown substantially since my student days. Our department entered a major growth phase in 1986 with the arrival of Dr. Thomas E. Andreoli as the Nolan Professor and Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine. Over the next 18 years, our faculty size doubled as did the number of inpatient and outpatient visits. New Division Directors were recruited in eight of the nine divisions allowing a major growth in the quality and quantity of biomedical research. We have risen dramatically in our national ranking for both NIH awards and VA merit review awards. This means for our Internal Medicine residents that “cutting-edge” research is going on at that same time that excellence in clinical medicine is being taught and practiced.

In January 2004, Dr. Andreoli stepped aside as chair. He remained as Distinguished Professor of Medicine, continuing rounds on general medicine and nephrology, taking daily morning report until April 2009 when he passed away.

We entered a new phase of growth under the leadership of Dr. James D. Marsh in 2004. He was named the Nolan Professor and Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine July 1, 2004. Dr. Marsh is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard College of Medicine. After training in Internal Medicine and Cardiology in the Harvard system, he was recruited to stay on the faculty. He rose through the academic ranks to Associate Professor of Medicine before being recruited to be Division Director of Cardiology at Wayne State University. Dr. Marsh was able to grow that division in clinical size and strength and to flourish in the academic arena.

Our chairman has a vision of growth for our department, a vision of size and talent, both clinically and investigatively. As winner of multiple student and resident teaching awards at his previous institutions, he also has a vision of making our Internal Medicine residency training program one of the best in the country.

We are a department which has a four-fold mission: patient care, teaching, research, and serving our community. Under the leadership of Dr. Marsh, we are growing in all these arenas. I hope you will come visit us and gain this view for yourself.

Robert W. Bradsher, M.D., FACP