Wonks at Work

Wonks at Work aims to demystify, boil down and un-wonk (if you will) complex healthcare topics so that you can understand how the system is working — or not working — for you.

The podcast is hosted by Craig Wilson, self-declared wonk and ACHI’s health policy director.

A special thanks to the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art, which is part of the Central Arkansas Library System, for allowing us to use their studio to record our podcast.

We will release new episodes twice a month. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Juggling Patient Care and Student Education During COVID-19: Dr. Cam Patterson
In this episode, we discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s only academic health center with Dr. Cam Patterson, chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He shares examples of how Arkansas has risen to the many challenges during the past year and how UAMS has managed patient care and student education amid the pandemic. Of course, we would be remiss not to talk to Dr. Patterson about the role that music has played in his personal and professional life. February 23, 2021.

A (COVID-19) Shot in the Arm for Arkansans: Heather Mercer
Heather Mercer, executive director of Immunize Arkansas, is someone who has been in the nitty gritty of the state’s vaccination program for COVID-19. In this episode, she talks about Arkansas’ approach to vaccine distribution, supply chain issues and how vaccine hesitancy stemming from misinformation have complicated efforts to get doses in arms. February 9, 2021.

*This podcast was recorded in late January and availability of vaccines at certain sites may have changed since the recording date.

Investing in Employee and Community Health: Dr. Stephanie Gardner
How can a Little Rock anchor institution simultaneously invest in the well-being of its employees while strengthening the health of its surrounding community? In our first episode of 2021, we welcome Dr. Stephanie Gardner, provost and chief academic officer at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She and host Craig Wilson discuss UAMS’ newly launched home ownership promotion program that includes down payment assistance for eligible employees purchasing a home in designated areas near the state’s only academic medical center. January 26, 2021.

Living at the Intersection of Health and Justice: Tamika Edwards
As special advisor on diversity, equity, inclusion and engagement at Central Arkansas Water, Tamika Edwards’ career revolves around social justice issues. In this episode, Edwards talks about solutions to systemic factors driving health disparities in our state and the effect of one of the most powerful social justice movements in our country’s history. December 8, 2020.

Under Pressure: The Affordable Care Act and a Voting Nation

In this episode, host Craig Wilson spotlights two big recent events – the election of a new president and another Affordable Care Act challenge before the Supreme Court. He predicts three big things that might happen under Joe Biden’s administration in the healthcare space and boils down the two hours of oral arguments before the Supreme Court. November 24, 2020.

The Public Health Powers That Be: Kevin Ryan 

In this episode, we talk about the power of states to respond to public health emergencies. Why does authority over public health lie with states rather than the federal government? What is the status of the lawsuit against the Arkansas governor and secretary of health that challenges the validity of public health directives? Kevin Ryan, fellow attorney and associate professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Public Health, joins host Craig Wilson to help un-wonk and answer these important questions. November 10, 2020.

Getting Back on the Right Track: Dr. Joe Thompson on COVID-19

On this inaugural episode of Wonks at Work, host Craig Wilson sits down with ACHI boss Dr. Joe Thompson to talk about COVID-19’s impact on our state, ACHI’s efforts during a public health emergency, and how he manages to find balance amid the chaos of a pandemic. October 27, 2020.

Introducing the Wonks at Work podcast: Host and self-declared wonk Craig Wilson introduces the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement’s Wonks at Work podcast. This series is dedicated to demystifying health care for decision makers across Arkansas, as well as the average citizen. The first episode debuts Oct. 27. October 8, 2020.