For Immediate Release

Oct. 19, 2022


John Lyon
Strategic Communications Manager


Spoken Word Poem Is Highlight of Friends of ACHI Appreciation Event

LITTLE ROCK ― The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement gave thanks Tuesday to all those whose extraordinary efforts and ongoing sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic have positively impacted Arkansas families and communities.

Expressions of gratitude for pandemic efforts dominated this year’s Friends of ACHI Appreciation Event at the Clinton Presidential Library. The annual event featured a spoken word poem reflecting on the challenges of the past few years, “The Second Mountain,” written for ACHI by nationally acclaimed poet Chris James and performed by the author.

A video of James’ reading of the poem is available at

ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson expressed thanks not only for the friends and supporters of ACHI but also for all Arkansans who rose to the challenges of the pandemic for the common good, including healthcare workers, policymakers, school officials, faith leaders, and business leaders.

“Thank you for the work you’ve done to bridge the divides in our communities,” Thompson said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we have survived this pandemic together, and I think many of the harms that the pandemic could have caused were avoided by the collective network that’s represented here and by your networks in your communities and across the state.”

The event also included the presentation of the 2022 Dr. Tom Bruce Arkansas Health Impact Awards. This year’s honorees are the late Dr. Betty Ann Lowe, former medical director for Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and Jon Swanson, retired executive director of Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services.

On behalf of the ACHI Health Policy Board, ACHI presents the Dr. Tom Bruce Arkansas Health Impact Award annually to one or more individuals for outstanding efforts to improve the health of all Arkansans. The award is named for the late Dr. Tom Bruce, who was dean of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine for a decade and a pioneer in the field of community health.

ACHI is a nonpartisan, independent health policy center that serves as a catalyst for improving the health of all Arkansans through evidence-based research, public issue advocacy, and collaborative program development. More information about the Tom Bruce Award, including a list of past recipients, is available at