Entry Category: Medicine

Abington, William Henry

William Henry (W. H.) Abington, a physician and a Democratic politician, served as a state senator and a state representative in the Arkansas General Assembly from 1923 to 1951. From 1929 to 1931, he was speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives. As a legislator, he supported medically oriented legislation and established the Junior Agricultural School of Central Arkansas (now Arkansas State University–Beebe) in 1927. W. H. Abington was born on January 2, 1870, in Collierville, Tennessee, to the farming family of William T. Abington and Mary Jane Plant Abington. He had an older sister and a younger brother. His family moved to White River (Prairie County) in 1870 but had relocated to Union (White County) by 1880.His brother, Eugene …

Abortion

Abortion is defined as either a spontaneous early ending of a pregnancy (a.k.a. miscarriage) or an induced early ending of a pregnancy. In Arkansas, amidst changes in abortion’s legal status over the years, women have sought abortions for various reasons, including maternal and fetal health problems, financial concerns, and the stigma of single pregnancy. Early nineteenth-century Americans confirmed pregnancy and the existence of a human life using “quickening,” a term that referred to a woman feeling fetal movements by pregnancy’s fourth or fifth month. Under the American interpretation of the British common law, abortion’s legality depended on whether it occurred before or after quickening. Before quickening, women could legally end their pregnancies using herbs or other methods. Beginning in 1821, the first …

Act 1220 of 2003

aka: Childhood Obesity Act
Act 1220 of 2003, which launched comprehensive efforts to curb childhood obesity in Arkansas, established one of the nation’s first statewide, school-focused initiatives to help children reach and maintain a healthy weight. Shaped largely by key legislators, including Senator Hershel Cleveland, with input from state and national public health experts, the act passed through the Arkansas General Assembly with strong support from the House and Senate under the administration of Governor Mike Huckabee. After passage, however, several components of the act faced vocal opposition. Opponents feared the largely unfunded mandates would strain educational and healthcare systems in addition to shaming overweight students. This vocal opposition prompted changes to the act in the years following its passage. Subsequent evaluation of Act …

Act 911 of 1989

aka: Arkansas Conditional Release Program
  Act 911 of 1989 pertains to the evaluation, commitment, and conditional release of individuals acquitted of a crime when found Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Disease or Defect. The evaluation process, completed by a certified forensic psychologist or psychiatrist, assesses the defendant’s fitness to proceed to trial and, if the defendant is found fit to proceed, mental state at the time of the crime. If the defendant is found not fit to proceed, the proceedings against the defendant are suspended, and the court may commit him/her for detention, care, and treatment at the Arkansas State Hospital (ASH) until restoration of fitness to proceed. Once fit to proceed, a re-evaluation includes an assessment of mental state at the time …

Adams, Elizabeth Lucille (Betty Lu) Hunter Sorensen

Elizabeth Lucille (Betty Lu) Hunter Sorensen Adams was a pioneer occupational therapist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital as well as the founder and second president of the Arkansas Occupational Therapy Association and its first delegate to a national conference. She has also distinguished herself as an artist and writer. Betty Hunter was born on February 3, 1926, in Tokyo, Japan, the daughter of Joseph Boone and Mary Cleary Hunter, both missionaries; she has one brother. The Hunter family came to Arkansas when, due to the Depression, there were no funds to return to missions. They lived in Little Rock (Pulaski County), where her father founded Pulaski Heights Christian Church. In 1940, the family left Little Rock to return to Japan but …

AIDS

By 2007, a cumulative 4,119 Arkansans had been diagnosed with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), the disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), with 196 of those cases being newly diagnosed in that year. Of all cases diagnosed in Arkansas, more than eighty percent were among men, fifty-seven percent were among whites, and forty percent were among African Americans. However, among cases newly diagnosed in 2007, the majority (fifty-five percent) were among African Americans, with only thirty-seven percent of new cases being among whites. This trend follows national rates of proportionally more cases being diagnosed among African Americans and other minorities. Of those 4,119 diagnosed with AIDS, more than 2,000 were people living with AIDS as of the end of …

Alford, Thomas Dale

Thomas Dale Alford was a prominent Arkansas ophthalmologist, Episcopalian, radio announcer, civic leader, and politician remembered largely as a leader of opposition to federally mandated desegregation during the crisis at Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Alford’s role as a leading segregationist came first through his seat on the Little Rock School Board and then as the “Segregation Sticker Candidate” who upset incumbent Democratic U.S. Representative Brooks Hays after a notorious ten-day write-in campaign in the 1958 election for the Fifth Congressional District of Arkansas. Dale Alford was born near Murfreesboro (Pike County) on January 28, 1916, the son of T. H. Alford and Ida Womack Alford, both of whom were itinerant school teachers. His father ultimately became …

Alzheimer’s Arkansas

Alzheimer’s Arkansas is an incorporated nonprofit organization governed by a local board of directors consisting of family members of Alzheimer’s patients, business and community leaders, and healthcare professionals. The organization offers an array of programs and services, including respite care, home improvements (such as wheelchair ramps), and educational tools. All services are funded through special events, grants, memberships, memorials, and other contributions; eighty-five percent of all contributions received are spent in Arkansas. Alzheimer’s Arkansas was founded as the Alzheimer’s Support Group of Central Arkansas in 1984. In 1986, the group affiliated with the national Alzheimer’s Association. In June 2002, however, the Alzheimer’s Arkansas Board of Directors elected to withdraw from the national association and become an independent nonprofit organization. Several …

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has been active in Arkansas since the second decade of the twentieth century. As an organization operated principally through volunteer labor, the Red Cross has assisted citizens of Arkansas through floods, droughts, and fires, as well as training Arkansans in emergency response and in health and safety. Three chapters of the Arkansas Red Cross serve various regions in the state of Arkansas, meeting the needs of Arkansans and disbursing help from Arkansans to meet needs all over the world. The American Red Cross was founded in Washington DC on May 21, 1881, with Clara Barton as its first director. The first Red Cross chapters founded in Arkansas began during World War I, when the number of …

Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI)

The Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI) was created as the major research component set forth in the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000, passed by sixty-four percent of Arkansas voters in the general election on November 7, 2000. The primary goal of ABI is to improve the health of Arkansans through new and expanded agricultural and biomedical research initiatives, and, to that end, it operates as a partnership in health-related research with its five member institutions: Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Arkansas State University (ASU), the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). The Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000 directed the State of …

Arkansas Career Training Institute

aka: Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center
aka: Army-Navy Hospital
The Arkansas Career Training Institute (formerly known as Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center—HSRC), run by Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, began its existence as the first combined general hospital for both U.S. Army and Navy patients in the nation. This joint services hospital was created ahead of the Navy Hospital Corp and over twenty years before the founding of the now-infamous Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The facility in Arkansas was quite an economic and social plum for rural Arkansas in the eyes of America and remains an imposing presence on the local skyline, regularly featured in pictures of the community. In the early 1800s, people believed that bathing in mineral waters had therapeutic value, which brought many people to the town of …

Arkansas Children’s Colony

aka: Conway Human Development Center
Dedicated on October 4, 1959, the Arkansas Children’s Colony was a state-supported center that served Arkansas’s mentally handicapped children. The colony, set on a little over 400 donated acres in Conway (Faulkner County), provided a school and a home away from home for as many as 1,000 developmentally disabled, school age children. Governor Orval Faubus lobbied strongly for funds to build a facility to serve the state’s mentally challenged children. On January 25, 1955, the Arkansas General Assembly created Act 6, which engendered Arkansas’s first facility to serve such children. Arkansas was the forty-eighth state to open such an institution. A donation of $1,200 was made to the facility, and workers began construction in 1958. Less than two years later, …

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH)

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH), with facilities in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Springdale (Washington and Benton counties),is the only pediatric hospital in Arkansas and is among the ten largest children’s hospitals in the United States. Pediatric specialists routinely treat patients from other states and occasionally other countries. Prior to becoming an independent children’s hospital, ACH was an orphanage. In February 1912, Horace Gaines Pugh of Little Rock helped establish the organization that would become Arkansas Children’s Home Society. Pugh, an Illinois native, moved to Little Rock in 1896, where he worked in real estate and eventually opened his own printing house, H. G. Pugh & Company. Pugh’s early mission was to found a haven for children who were orphaned, neglected, or …

Arkansas Country Doctor Museum (ACDM)

The Arkansas Country Doctor Museum (ACDM) in Lincoln (Washington County), in rural northwest Arkansas, is located in an eleven-room combined house, office, and four-bed clinic used successively by three physicians from 1936 until 1973. It features numerous examples of vintage medical equipment and a Hall of Honor highlighting notable pioneer-area physicians and their contributions to patients and the community. A carriage house and an educational building are also part of the museum. Dr. Harold Boyer, son of the last doctor to use the clinic, established the ACDM in 1994 to honor his father and other country doctors and the values they embodied. Herbert L. Boyer graduated from the University of Arkansas Medical Department, now the University of Arkansas for Medical …

Arkansas Department of Health (ADH)

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) exercises supervision over all matters pertaining to the health of Arkansas’s citizens, from food safety and sanitation to hospitals and medicine. The first state board of health was actually the Little Rock (Pulaski County) board of health, which sprang into action in 1878 in the face of a yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans, Louisiana, and fears that refugees could bring the disease into Arkansas; the Little Rock board was turned into the state board by Governor William Read Miller the following year. In 1881, the state legislature created an official state board of health, though it was inactive until 1897, when smallpox appeared in the state. Act 96 of 1913 created a permanent …

Arkansas Health Center

The Arkansas Health Center (AHC), located in Benton (Saline County), is a 310-bed nursing facility licensed and regulated by the Office of Long Term Care. AHC is the largest nursing home—and the only state-operated nursing facility—in Arkansas. With more than 550 employees, AHC provides nursing home care to Arkansans with special medical and behavioral needs that are not generally met through traditional nursing facilities. AHC houses specialty units to treat individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, those with behavioral or psychiatric disorders, and those who are ventilator dependent for survival. AHC takes a holistic approach to healthcare, treating both the physical and psychiatric health concerns of the residents while also focusing on spiritual needs. Services available …

Arkansas Medical Society

The Arkansas Medical Society (AMS), founded in 1875, describes itself as the premier professional organization for Arkansas physicians. The AMS supports physicians and seeks to improve the delivery of healthcare services. In 1847, American allopathic physicians—that is, those within the regular medical mainstream—organized the American Medical Association (AMA) to promote medical educational and ethical standards. Established in the early 1840s, the Crawford County Medical Society was Arkansas’s earliest allopathic medical organization. Organized in 1870, the Arkansas State Medical Association (ASMA) was the first state organization for regular physicians. In 1873, a disagreement that divided the Little Rock and Pulaski County Medical Society members contributed to the ASMA’s eventual dissolution. At a meeting held in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1875, …

Arkansas Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association

The Arkansas Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association (AMDPA) was founded in 1893 by a group of African-American medical professionals. Barred from joining local white medical societies and the American Medical Association (AMA), black medical professionals organized their own local associations and national organization. Trained medical providers began moving into the Arkansas Territory around 1820. In the early 1880s, and in concert with trends in other states, several black physicians organized their own “Colored Medical Association.” These medical professionals were not only interested in the mutual recognition and fraternity offered by the organization; they were also genuinely concerned about the poor state of health among African Americans and the failure of white physicians to adequately address these healthcare needs. In 1893, …

Arkansas Methodist Medical Center

Arkansas Methodist Medical Center (AMMC) in Paragould (Greene County) provides healthcare for residents of northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri. As of 2009, AMMC has more than eighty active and courtesy physicians from family practice to multiple specialties. A total staff of nearly 700 healthcare professionals works in a 400,000-square-foot facility. Salaries alone have an annual economic impact of more than $26 million. By the 1930s, Dickson Memorial Hospital in Paragould was past its prime. With combined support from citizens and the Paragould City Council, a donation of land by Joseph Bertig, and federal assistance from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), construction on a new hospital began in 1941. The new facility was seventy-five percent completed when the beginning of World …

Arkansas State Hospital

The Arkansas State Hospital is the only state-owned and -operated facility for the treatment of mental illness in Arkansas. The structure, function, and name of this facility have changed with the development of new technology and more progressive views for treating individuals suffering from mental illness, epilepsy, birth defects, learning disabilities, and the effects of old age. The Arkansas Lunatic Asylum was created by legislative act in 1873. In 1905, the name was changed to Arkansas State Hospital for Nervous Diseases; it was changed to Arkansas State Hospital in 1933. A facility known as the State Hospital still exists today, but what was historically encompassed by the “State Hospital” is now part of the Division of Behavioral Health Services of …

Arkansas State Medical Association (ASMA)

The Arkansas State Medical Association (ASMA), organized in 1870, was Arkansas’s first statewide professional organization for regular physicians (meaning those within the regular medical mainstream). A dispute over ethics erupted in 1873, which contributed to the ASMA’s eventual dissolution in 1879. In nineteenth-century America, regular physicians engaged in professional organizing and advocacy. In 1866, a group of Arkansas’s regular physicians, including Dr. Philo Oliver Hooper of Little Rock (Pulaski County), formed the Little Rock and Pulaski County Medical Society (PCMS). Encouraged by their success, PCMS members looked to establish a state organization for regular physicians. At a meeting held in Little Rock in 1870, a group of regular physicians organized the Arkansas State Medical Association. The ASMA, whose members were …

Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium

The Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium was established in 1909 about three miles south of Booneville (Logan County). Once fully established, the sanatorium was the relocation center for all white Arkansans with tuberculosis. By the time the facility was closed in 1973, it treated over 70,000 patients, and in time, its main hospital, the Nyberg Building, became known worldwide for its tuberculosis treatment. With the passage of Act 378 of the General Assembly, a board of trustees was created to oversee the search for land to build a sanatorium. This was a very vital start to create a facility that would, in fact, quarantine a highly pathogenic disease. Tuberculosis, which caused scarring of the lungs and led to many deaths, was …

ARKids First

ARKids First is a state-run health insurance program for needy children. The program, which is an expansion of Medicaid, provides health insurance coverage for children whose parents’ income was too much to allow them to qualify for Medicaid but who still had significant needs. Since its creation, the program has proven popular and successful. The program had its genesis in an early 1996 state study of Medicaid costs with an eye toward reducing spending. Task force member Amy Rossi, who was director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, proposed to Governor Mike Huckabee that the state increase Medicaid spending to allow children whose parents’ incomes were too high to qualify but too low to afford private insurance to visit …

Bailey, Marian Breland

Marian (Ruth Kruse) Breland Bailey was a pioneer in the field of animal behavior. Marian and her first husband, Keller Breland, were the first to use operant conditioning technology for commercial purposes. From their Hot Springs (Garland County) farm, the Brelands exported the new technology all over the world. Marian Ruth Kruse was born on December 2, 1920, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Christian and Harriet (Prime) Kruse. Christian Kruse owned an auto parts supply house. Harriet was a registered nurse. Marian had one brother, Donald. She was known as “Mouse” to her friends; Marian’s father was the first to call her “Maus,” a common German term of endearment for girls. Later, when Marian met her soon-to-be husband, Keller, he also …

Baker, Norman

Norman Glenwood Baker is best known in Arkansas as a promoter of alternative medicine who settled in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) in 1936 and was convicted of mail fraud in 1940. Anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic, he was also a radio pioneer and a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat and for governor of Iowa. Norman Baker, the tenth and last child of John and Frances Baker of Muscatine, Iowa, was born on November 27, 1882. His father reportedly held 126 patents and operated Baker Manufacturing Company in Muscatine. His mother, prior to her marriage, had written extensively. Baker left high school after his sophomore year, and his early adult years were spent working as a tramp machinist. After witnessing a vaudeville …

Baptist Health

Baptist Health, Arkansas’s largest healthcare system, has hospital campuses in Little Rock (Pulaski County), North Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkadelphia (Clark County), Stuttgart (Arkansas County), and Heber Springs (Cleburne County). In addition to its medical centers, it also operates therapy centers, physician clinics, a retirement village, and a school of nursing and allied health. Baptist Health began in 1919 when the Arkansas Baptist State Convention voted to create a modern scientific hospital in Little Rock. The Baptist State Hospital opened with seventy-five beds in November 1920. In its first year of operation, the hospital treated 1,026 patients. Dr. J. S. Rogers was appointed superintendent of the hospital. The Baptist Health School of Nursing also began in 1920 and graduated its first …

Baptist Health College Little Rock

Baptist Health College Little Rock (BHCLR), a part of Baptist Health Medical Center–Little Rock, focuses on healthcare education as guided by the workforce needs in the central Arkansas region. BHCLR offers a Christian campus environment and a long history of medical training that goes back to the earliest days of the Baptist Health system. Established in 1920 in Little Rock (Pulaski County), what was then the Arkansas Baptist Hospital School of Nursing was based in the Baptist State Hospital, which itself was founded that year when the Arkansas Baptist State Convention purchased the old Battle Creek Sanatorium for $58,350. In 1921, the Arkansas Baptist Hospital School of Nursing graduated five students. There were no graduates in 1922, but in 1923 …

Baptist Health v. Murphy

Baptist Health v. Murphy was an extended legal battle culminating in a 2010 ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court. Addressing the issue of economic credentialing, and resolving a dispute that had first entered the judicial system in February 2004, the court eventually ruled in favor of a group of doctors whose part ownership in competing hospitals had been deemed a violation of the contracting hospital’s conflict of interest policy, which had resulted in the severance of their association and employment. In its ruling, the court upheld a previously issued permanent injunction, and Baptist Health was permanently prevented from implementing the policy. The genesis of the case was the adoption in May 2003 of the Economic Conflict of Interest Policy by …

Beall, Ruth Olive

Ruth Olive Beall was superintendent of Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Home from 1934 to 1961. She was largely responsible for the hospital’s survival during the financial difficulties of the Great Depression and for its expansion and improvement in the following years. Ruth Beall was born in St. Louis, Missouri, sometime in 1896, the daughter of Charles Carlton Beall, a traveling salesman, and Florance Walcott Beall. While she was attending a boarding school in Arcadia, Missouri, her parents moved to Rogers (Benton County). Beall graduated from Washington University in St. Louis before joining her family in Arkansas. In Rogers, Beall was advisor to the local chapter of the Junior Red Cross during World War I. She was briefly the owner and …

Bentley, Edwin

Edwin Bentley was one of the eight founders of the Arkansas Industrial University Medical Department, now the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Edwin Bentley was born to George W. and Anne Williams Bentley on July 3, 1824, in New London, Connecticut. Bentley’s early education was in the local schools and under private tutors. He received, for the time, a quite thorough medical training at the New York City Medical College, the Twenty-third Street Medical College, the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, and the medical department of the University of the City of New York, from which he received his doctor of medicine degree in 1849. Bentley then established a thriving general practice in Norwich, …

Birth Control Movement

aka: Family Planning Movement
In Arkansas, early marriage and the need for farm labor had long encouraged large families. In addition, federal and state laws had restricted access to contraceptives since the late nineteenth century. These challenges did not, however, prevent women from using herbs, withdrawal-based, or “black market” birth control to exercise some measure of reproductive control. In the 1940s, attempting to address poverty and inspired by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s (PPFA) policy agenda, Hilda K. Cornish of the Planned Parenthood Association of Arkansas and her allies campaigned for the inclusion of birth control services in Arkansas’s public health system. In 1940, Cornish, the Arkansas Medical Society (AMS), and state board of health members discussed plans for public health birth control …

Boozman, Fay

Fay Boozman was a prominent ophthalmologist and public official in late twentieth-century Arkansas. The brother and business partner of Senator John Boozman, Fay Boozman also served in the state government and was heading the Arkansas Department of Health at the time of his sudden death at the age of fifty-eight. Fay Winford Boozman III was born on November 10, 1946, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) to Fay Winford Boozman Jr. and Marie Nicholas Boozman. His father was a U.S. Air Force master sergeant, causing the family to move frequently, but Boozman spent much of his youth in Fort Smith. He attended Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, from 1964 to 1966, then Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County) from 1966 …

Breland, Keller Bramwell

Keller Bramwell Breland was perhaps best known in Arkansas as the co-owner and operator of the IQ Zoo, a tourist attraction in Hot Springs (Garland County) that featured trained animals performing a variety of amazing acts. In addition, Breland played a major role in developing scientifically-validated and humane animal training methods and in promoting the widespread use of these methods. Keller Breland was born on March 26, 1915, in Poplarville, Mississippi, to Aden Breland, a Methodist minister, and Eugenia Breland, an elementary school teacher. The youngest of eleven children, Keller was an inquisitive, resourceful child. An entrepreneur from an early age, he sold magazines door to door with his older brother, Homer, and picked cotton during the summers. Breland graduated …

Breysacher, Augustus Louis

Augustus Louis Breysacher was one of the eight founders of the Arkansas Industrial University Medical Department, now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Augustus Breysacher was born in Canton, Ohio, on February 2, 1831, to German immigrants George Breysacher and Elizabeth Keller Breysacher. Breysacher had three sisters. The family moved from Ohio to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1832. Breysacher received his general education in St. Louis, with additional courses in literature and the classics at St. Xavier College in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from Missouri Medical College in St. Louis in 1859 and was certified as a chemist and pharmacist. Immediately after graduation, Breysacher received an appointment as acting assistant surgeon in the U.S. Army. He was assigned …

Brinkley, John Richard

John Richard Brinkley made a fortune in medical quackery, radio, and advertising in Del Rio, Texas. In the late 1930s, he moved his practice to Little Rock (Pulaski County), where his dishonest career came to light and collapsed. Born John Romulus Brinkley on July 8, 1885, in Jackson County, North Carolina, he was the illegitimate child of John Richard Brinkley and Sarah Candace Burnett, the twenty-four-year-old niece of his long-suffering wife, Sarah Mingus. There is some dispute as to why his middle name was changed from Romulus to Richard. The official biography by Clement Wood attributes the change to the Methodist minister who baptized Brinkley and rejected the name Romulus as heathen. Brinkley’s own account is that he took the …

Brooks, Ida Josephine

Ida Josephine Brooks was a teacher and early school administrator in Little Rock (Pulaski County). She was among Arkansas’s earliest women physicians and the first female faculty member at the University of Arkansas Medical School (now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences). She also took an active role in advocating for women’s rights. Ida Joe Brooks, the fourth of six children, was born at Muscatine, Iowa, on April 28, 1853, to Methodist minister Joseph Brooks and Elizabeth Goodenough Brooks. Brooks’s father was a candidate for governor in Arkansas in 1872 against Elisha Baxter. Both candidates claimed victory, precipitating the Brooks-Baxter War, with Brooks the loser. Little is known of Ida Joe Brooks’s childhood education. She graduated from Central High …