UAMS Regional Programs, formerly Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), were founded in 1973, through combined efforts of the Governor, the State Legislature, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), as a means to encourage UAMS medical school graduates to remain in Arkansas, and help address the state’s shortage and uneven distribution of primary care physicians.

UAMS Regional Programs serve as an educational outreach network for UAMS and the principal means to decentralize medical and other health professions education throughout the state. Eight teaching centers in Fayetteville/Springdale, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Pine Bluff, Texarkana, Magnolia, Helena-West Helena, and Batesville expose future health professionals to underserved communities and provide more varied hands-on experiences than they might receive in a traditional urban, academic environment.

What began with medical and residency training 44 years ago now also encompasses nursing, pharmacy, mid-level and allied health professions raining, as well as a statewide network for health career pipeline programs, continuing professional education, library resources, patient-centered quality care initiatives, and telehealth connections to cutting-edge medicine. Each center serves a multiple county region.