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Chancellor Cam Patterson, right, shares a thumbs up with Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. after the mayor turned on one of the generators at the new power plant at the end of the facility’s official opening.
Image by Evan Lewis
| The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) recently joined more than 100 healthcare organizations across the country in pledging to take action to decarbonize the healthcare sector and make their facilities more resilient to the effects of climate change.
In adopting the White House/Department of Health and Human Services Climate Pledge, UAMS has formally committed to pursuing the goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The University is already on track to achieve by achieving this with a $150 million energy project that has and will continue to reduce carbon emissions by reducing energy use. The project started in November 2019 and is now progressing to its final phase.
The pledge was signed by 102 prominent US healthcare organizations and companies, including partners representing 837 hospitals, as well as leading healthcare centers, providers, insurance companies, group purchasing organizations, pharmaceutical companies and more. Joining the efforts of federal health systems with these organizations means that more than 1,080 federal and private sector hospitals have made such commitments, which together represent more than 15% of US hospitals.
In October 2021, the university completed construction of a $50 million power plant on the east side of its Little Rock campus, a key part of the energy project.
As part of the project, UAMS also upgraded the campus’s building control systems, interior and exterior lighting, and electrical and mechanical systems. Workers retrofitted the entire campus with new, energy-efficient LED lighting. Electrical systems in some buildings were original to their 1950s construction.
“The work on the download of these technologies since the mid-20thth century and at the beginning of the 21stSt it’s not over yet,” said Christina Clark, MBA, UAMS chief operating officer and vice chancellor for Institutional Support Services. A study is underway to explore the feasibility of using solar energy and where UAMS could locate it.
Clark said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, MD, MBA, “wants us to be the most sustainable academic medical center in the United States. We have a big job ahead of us and this pledge is another demonstration of our commitment to get it done.”
UAMS is the only state health sciences university with colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, health professions and public health; high school; hospital; main campus in Little Rock; Northwest Arkansas Regional Campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that spans the entire UAMS clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only Level 1 trauma center for adults in the state. UAMS has 3,240 students, 913 physicians and fellows, and five dentists. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who care for patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, TwitterYouTube or Instagram.