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The University of Arkansas’ $20 million UAMS Health Specialty Center for Medical Sciences is set to transform UAMS’s urology department when it opens in the spring.
The 32,000 square foot space at 10901 N. Rodney Parham Road in Little Rock will house UAMS’s urology clinic, ambulatory surgery center, interventional radiology and radiology imaging suite.
Dr. Tim Langford, chair of the UAMS Medical School Department of Urology, said moving part of the UAMS campus urology department to the new location will make it easier to treat patients. treated for benign urological conditions such as kidney stones. and erectile dysfunction. Cancer treatment will remain on the UAMS campus.
The new space at Premier Medical Plaza will also provide easy access and parking for patients.
“UAMS is a large campus, and it can be difficult for patients to navigate,” said Dr. Michelle W. Krause, acting CEO of UAMS Medical Center and acting Senior Vice Chancellor of UAMS Health. “So providing clinical experience with surgical procedures, diagnostic imaging, as well as clinic visits in a very convenient place for the patient, is something we’ve been looking for for some time.”
The new space will also improve conditions for service providers. “Right now we’re so limited with space,” Langford said. “It’s just not practical. It’s not effective. He plans to use the modern space with improved equipment as a recruiting tool for the urology department.
“There is a huge urology workforce crisis in Arkansas,” Langford said. “We are actively recruiting and collaborating with more faculty members. I can tell you that this facility, when they see it and hear about it, will entice them to come to UAMS.
When Langford became department chair last year, he had two faculty members. Now he has four and another will start in June. He said the department needs two more professors, “and we will continue to grow from there.” Additionally, the center will help add urologists to Arkansas, he said. “It could be an opportunity for our residents to gain more experience with more space and more teachers.”
The center will have approximately 50 UAMS staff, 15 examination rooms, four procedure rooms and up to four operating rooms.
It will double the capacity of the urology department and allow residents to see more patients and provide a range of treatments.
At the facility, providers will be able to offer an MRI fusion biopsy, a “very precise” procedure, Langford said. “We are adding the very latest technology in kidney stone surgery with regards to lasers.”
Construction costs will total approximately $11 million and equipment will cost approximately $9 million. The general contractor for the project is Clark Contractors LLC of Little Rock. The architect is WER Architects, also of Little Rock.
Nationally, about 270 urologists graduate each year, but about 500 retire. When Langford began his practice 30 years ago in Arkansas, 75 urologists practiced in the state. Now there are about 55, half of whom are over 55, he said.
But he said five of UAMS’ urology residents have signed contracts to practice in Arkansas for the next three years.
The center “is really going to be transformative for our service, and… more importantly for our patients,” Langford said.