Big gift for UAMS | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Big gift for UAMS

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 11:08 AM

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has given $33.4 million to the Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. It's the campus' second biggest gift. The money will add four floors to the existing building and construct a walkway to the UAMS spine and neurosciences center. LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging today received $33.4 million from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the second-largest gift ever awarded to UAMS.
 
Reynolds Foundation Chairman Fred W. Smith and Foundation President Steven L. Anderson announced the gift to Reynolds Institute Director Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D, UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., and many other dignitaries and employees at a ceremony on the UAMS campus.
 
The lion’s share of the funds, $30.4 million, will pay for construction of four additional floors (55,000 square feet) on top of the existing Reynolds Institute on Aging, and a pedestrian walkway that will connect the building to the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute a block away.
 
When asked about the grant, Foundation Chairman Fred W. Smith stated, “Our goal in making the original grant to UAMS was the establishment of a world-class department of geriatrics. We believe that goal has been realized. Now we have challenged Dr. Wei and Dr. Wilson to take the next step and develop the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics and Reynolds Institute on Aging into a world-renowned center.” 
 
The Reynolds Foundation also awarded $3 million to the Arkansas Aging Initiative, a program of the UAMS Reynolds Institute on Aging that oversees eight Centers on Aging across Arkansas.
 
“I can’t overstate the significance of these extremely generous contributions for UAMS and our state’s aging population,” Wilson said. “Arkansas already has one of the country’s oldest populations, and with baby boomers poised to retire, we’re facing an overwhelming need for geriatric health care.”
The $30.4 million gift was given on condition that the Reynolds Institute on Aging raises an additional $5.6 million through other sources as a restricted fund to support its programs.
 
Wei, who also serves as chairman of the Reynolds Department of Geriatrics at UAMS, said she hopes to begin construction on the expansion in mid-2010.
 
“This gift will make a huge difference in our ability to recruit physicians who want to specialize in geriatrics,” Wei said. “In the next 20 years, there will be more 80-year olds than newborns. We must be prepared to care for them.”
 
The existing Reynolds Institute on Aging facility is 101,000 square feet. Its construction was made possible as part of a $29.7 million investment from the Reynolds Foundation in 1997. Not counting today’s gift, the Reynolds Foundation has given UAMS $51.4 million, of which $48.1 million has gone to the Reynolds Institute on Aging.
 
Claudia J. Beverly, Ph.D., R.N., director of the Arkansas Aging Initiative, said the $3 million will be used to replicate the home caregiver training model that was developed at the Schmieding Senior Health Center, a Center on Aging satellite in Springdale. The Caregiving program will be replicated initially in four of the Arkansas Aging Initiative’s Regional Centers. 
 
“I am thrilled that the Reynolds Foundation has made such a fabulous contribution that will enable the Arkansas Aging Initiative to better prepare an in-home caregiver work force and to improve the quality of life and care of older Arkansans and their families,” Beverly said.
 
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named.  Donald W. Reynolds was the founder and principal owner of Donrey Media Group. When he died in 1993, the company included more than 70 businesses, most in the communications/media field. Headquartered in Las Vegas, the Foundation has committed over $200 million to improving the lives of elderly people in Arkansas and throughout the United States.
 
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a new 540,000-square-foot hospital, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,652 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com.

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