November 15, 2016
For more information
Arkansas Center for Health Improvement
1401 West Capitol Avenue | Suite 300 -
Victory Building | Little Rock, AR 72201
501.526.2248 direct; MWSmith@uams.edu
ACHI announces Dr. Joe Bates inaugural recipient of
Dr. Tom Bruce Arkansas Health Impact Award
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Center for Health
Improvement (ACHI) announced today Dr. Joseph H. Bates is the recipient of the
inaugural Dr. Tom Bruce
Arkansas Health Impact Award.
“There are few
medical professionals whose life’s work transcends their individual sphere of
influence to positively impact society as a whole,” said Dr. Joe Thompson, ACHI
Director. “Joe Bates is one of those people. His selfless commitment to the
public good and his unyielding advocacy of the poor and vulnerable of Arkansas
is the gold standard to which all of us in medicine should aspire.”
Dr. Bates graduated from the
University of Arkansas College of Medicine in 1957 and is currently Deputy
State Health Officer and Chief Science Officer with the Arkansas Department of
Health. He also serves as Professor of Epidemiology and Associate
Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
rose to international prominence in the 1960s when he proved tuberculosis was
transmitted by airborne particles and not direct contact as was the prevailing
belief. In a second study, he proved that with proper treatment, TB patients
could return home in a couple of weeks without fear of spreading the disease. These
two studies, published in the New England
Journal of Medicine, radically changed treatment protocols of the day when patients
would spend months or years isolated in sanatoriums.
Bates was also a staunch proponent of public health initiatives and physician
training. He was instrumental in the formation of ACHI, a policy research and
medical advocacy organization and played a key role in the establishment of the College of Public Health,
serving as a member of its faculty and administration.
Nicknamed “Mad Dog”
Bates early in his medical career, he showed a tenacity of purpose worthy of
the name throughout his career, from providing critical leadership for the
Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006, which protects Arkansans from secondhand smoke, to
fighting for fluoridation of Arkansas' drinking water to promote oral health to
championing the health needs of more than 6,000 citizens of the Marshall
Islands living in Arkansas, resulting in the 2011 construction of the
Springdale health clinic named in his honor.
Dr. Bates’ award honors another giant of
Arkansas medicine, the late Dr. Thomas Bruce who was dean of the state’s
college of medicine for a decade. Known as “the father of public health in
Arkansas” by colleagues, Dr. Bruce was also a pioneer in the field of community
health and spent the latter half of his life improving access and quality of
care for the poor and marginalized throughout Arkansas and the country.
Dr. Bruce is remembered for having improved
and expanded the college of medicine and for addressing the lack of physicians
in the state’s rural areas through the formation of the Area Health Education
Centers (AHECs), which provided physicians in less-populated areas of Arkansas.
He, along with his wife Delores, also seeded ACHI with a $100,000 donation,
which paved the way for the organization’s formation.
He also launched initiatives through the W.K.
Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan, provided direction for the
national Community-Based Public Health Initiative and along with colleague
Richard Norton, published a nationally acclaimed book, Improving Rural
Health, detailing innovative UAMS training programs that grew out of rural
research studies. He served as dean (pro tem) of both the College of Public
Health and Clinton School of Public Service.
Dr. Bates received the award, named in honor
of his colleague and medical school classmate, at a special ceremony November
14 at Robinson Center in Little Rock.
Arkansas Center for Health Improvement is a nonpartisan, independent health
policy center that serves as a catalyst to improve the health of Arkansans.