UAMS closes weight-loss clinic; staff at Children's may be hired by research institute | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 11, 2018

UAMS closes weight-loss clinic; staff at Children's may be hired by research institute

Posted By on Thu, Jan 11, 2018 at 12:07 PM

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The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has terminated its weight loss program due to budget constraints. The move was part of UAMS' termination of 600 positions, including 258 employees, on Monday.

The webpage for the weight loss program has this message:

We regret to announce that, due to budget cuts, all UAMS Weight Loss Clinic group sessions and appointments are cancelled effective immediately. The office remains open to sell remaining inventory of meal replacements.

This was a difficult decision, as we consider all our employees and patients part of the UAMS family. We are grateful we could help thousands of patients achieve dramatic weight loss over the past 35 years. We hope all our weight loss patients will continue their journey toward healthy lifestyle choices.

Current patients will receive an e-mail with detailed information about refunds, products, medical records and any other concerns.

The clinic had a high-profile client in former Gov. Mike Huckabee, who worked with the director to shed more than 100 pounds and then wrote a book about it. (And then started putting the weight back on, being a mere mortal.)

The Times has also learned that Arkansas Children's Research Institute is working to hire the biostatisticians that UAMS fired Monday.

UAMS terminated all pediatric biostatistics administrators and staff members, with the exception of PhDs, on Monday. A memo sent this week to ACRI staff said the institute would create its own program of doctoral and master's level biostaticians.

Research without statisticians is a no-go; perhaps UAMS expected Children's would pick up the tab when it made the decision to dissolve the department at ACH.

The memo to ACRI staff, from Chief Research Officer Gregory L. Kearns:

On Monday of this week, budgetary actions initiated by UAMS resulted in the planned dissolution of the Section of Biostatistics in the Department of Pediatrics. Effective 1/8/18, all administrative and staff members (i.e., MS-degree biostatisticians) had their employment terminated. Doctoral level faculty in the program remain for the time being.

Upon this action being taken, ACRI immediately began to work to assemble a Biostatistics Core within ACRI. It is our vision that this core will consist of both faculty (PhD) and staff (MS) biostatisticians. Their priority will be to support extramurally funded research (ongoing work and the development of new grant proposals) and research performed by clinical departments within Arkansas Children’s Hospital. We are working diligently to bring this infrastructure resource “on line” for ACRI and the Arkansas Children’s system in an effective and expeditious fashion.

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