Position Description


Search for the Chancellor University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) invites nominations and applications for the position of Chancellor. UAMS is the state’s only academic medical center one of six universities in the University of Arkansas (UA) System. The Chancellor is the chief executive of the University’s campuses that include the UAMS Hospital and Integrated Clinical Enterprise, Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions, and Public Health, a Graduate School, as well as multiple institutes and centers in Little Rock; and across the state, eight Regional Campuses, including one in Northwest Arkansas, the fastest growing region of the state. UAMS benefits from a unified governance, leadership, budgeting, and management structure. UAMS is the and states largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, operating programs in 73 of the states 75 counties. UAMS has the state’s largest teaching hospital, and the state’s only adult Level One Trauma Center, high-risk pregnancy program, and liver transplant program. UAMS and its largest clinical affiliates, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, form an economic engine in the state with an annual impact of $4.5 billion.

UAMS is thriving and essential to the health of the state, and the past decade has seen remarkable growth and reinvention at the University. Arkansas has accepted Federal Medicaid expansion and, as the uninsured rate has dropped by 57% since 2013, demand for UAMS services has increased. The organization has grown in proportion within its many domains, including the completion of an extensive capital expansion project, the addition of 27 new academic programs, and a 40% increase in patient volumes since FY2009. Additionally, unrestricted cash reserves have increased by $30 million since FY2009, and research funding has grown by 9%.

UAMS is now poised for further expansion beyond its own campus. Statewide synergies have proven essential to the University’s overall strategy and primary mission of advancing health science research and improving the health of all Arkansans. UAMS maintains affiliations with Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Baptist Health, St. Bernards Healthcare, and Washington Regional Medical System among others. From the rapidly growing Northwest corner of the state to the sparsely populated, highly impoverished Delta region, UAMS plans to develop truly regional campuses, expand academic programs to address health workforce needs, nurture relationships with other UA campuses and regional health providers, and create integrated clinical networks focused on health care quality and population health improvement. Work is underway to open a college of dental medicine the first one in the state. The Chancellor will also oversee the continued expansion of UAMS’s already robust telemedicine and telehealth networks.

In 2015, UAMS launched an Integrated Clinical Enterprise that reorganized UAMS patient care into 15 interdisciplinary service lines that cross academic departments. Simultaneously, the University changed its budget structure and streamlined its administrative structure to allow greater efficiency and larger scale strategic investments. Combined these substantial changes have greatly improved the financial footing of UAMS and position the next Chancellor to further elevate the University.

UAMS seeks a leader who will optimize the institution’s position at the intersection of education, research, and clinical excellence. The ideal candidate will have an MD and/or PhD degree along with a deep understanding of the synergies among clinical delivery systems, research and scholarship, education, and engagement. The next Chancellor will possess the utmost integrity and will firmly embrace UAMS’s mission and commitment to the state of Arkansas through transparent communication, as well as authentic engagement with patients, students, faculty, staff, health system partners, and other key stakeholders. S/he will be diplomatic, persuasive, and comfortable working with a variety of constituencies. The Chancellor will demonstrate a keen understanding of the changing health care environment including the complex pressures facing academic medical centers; the significance of clinical and community affiliations; the intricacies of operating a major educational, clinical, and research enterprise; and the centrality of interprofessional education, research, and patient care. The Chancellor will bring a successful track record of working in complex environments and a steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion.


The Chancellor is responsible for leading all missions of UAMS and ensuring that the University prospers as a vital part of the Arkansas academic and health care landscape, and economic community. The Chancellor will oversee a broad portfolio that includes academic, research, and clinical affairs; community engagement, strategic affiliations, government relations, fundraising, faculty, staff, and student affairs and development, financial stewardship, legal affairs, communications and public relations, and operations and facilities. The Chancellor will at all times work in close collaboration across the UA System to ensure UAMS provides educational services of the highest quality with the broadest possible access, fully representative of all segments of the population. S/he will be looked to by the governor and the state legislature to provide her/his expert opinion regarding health care policies and their impact on UAMS.

The Chancellor is responsible to the President of the UA System. The Chancellor also works closely with the UA Systems Board of Trustees (BOT), which serves as the single governing body over all aspects of UAMS’s mission and operations. Under the Chancellor’s leadership, campus affairs are conducted in keeping with state laws and policies established by the President and the BOT.

The Chancellor’s Cabinet includes 11 direct reports. An organizational chart for the Cabinet can be found at the end of this document.


When Daniel Rahn, MD, assumed the Chancellor position in 2009, UAMS faced $350 million in debt obligations due to new building construction and a loss of $43 million. His successes in the role can be counted in many ways; however, the major changes he led in the following areas will stand as durable and significant factors in positioning UAMS for future success:

  • Academic and administrative structure: UAMS had a highly decentralized structure with 25 units reporting directly and independently to the Chancellor. This structure was revised and the number of direct reports to the Chancellor is now 11. UAMS Deans now report to the Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Stephanie Gardner, which more readily aligns academic programs with research priorities across the enterprise. Dr. Gardner works closely with the Chancellor to develop and implement strategic campus initiatives and partnerships with the Deans and other campus officials. The Chancellor has since been able to devote more time to higher level strategic work and external relations. A very talented team works with the Chancellor. The next Chancellor will have the opportunity to assess this reporting structure and make any necessary modifications to ensure that it best meets the needs of the institution.
  • Budget model: UAMS moved to an activity-based budget model to align budgets and investments in support of the highest strategic priorities by mission area. Previously, every operating unit maintained its own budget which caused inefficiency, limited UAMS’s ability to make strategic investments, and prevented aligning unit priorities and institutional strategic initiatives. The prior system also allowed the Chancellor to access funds only by taxing units. As a consequence, limited funds were available for core services. The new model enables the Chancellor and other senior leaders to make strategic investment decisions at the institutional level. Operating units are allocated budgets based on projected need. Units can access additional funds that align with institutional goals but must return their funds balance to the central University at the conclusion of the fiscal year. This new model is still being refined. The next Chancellor will need to address incorporation of incentives at the service line and faculty level, strategically deploy funds across UAMS, and encourage a well-planned spirit of innovation.
  • Clinical model: Simultaneous to changes to the budget model, UAMS redesigned its clinical enterprise around patient-centered service lines. 13 of the 15 lines are led by a physician and a triad of nursing, administration, and medical management. This shift to service lines was implemented to support an integrated, patient- and family-centered health care environment. The structure effectively and efficiently produces better health outcomes, enhances the patient and family experience, supports clinical excellence, and is an outstanding way to promote interprofessional education and prepare UAMS students for team-based care. The next Chancellor will continue the integrated clinical enterprise maturation process. By committing to the service line model, UAMS anticipates continued, measurable improvements in quality of care, patient experiences, and fiscal efficiency.


With its mission of improving the health and well-being of all Arkansans and others throughout the region and beyond, UAMS seeks to educate health professionals and the public and provide innovative and family-centered health care and specialty expertise, while advancing knowledge gleaned from research to the delivery of care. To realize the full potential of its schools, institutes, and clinical entities, the Chancellor must address and capitalize on the following key challenges and opportunities:

Develop a statewide strategy to improve the health of all Arkansans

The Chancellor will shape and champion a robust statewide strategy to fulfill the University’s mission and unique role in improving health and advancing health science for all Arkansans. To be successful, the Chancellor must embrace Arkansas’s social, cultural, and political landscape. Arkansas is a state of disparities, from the rapidly growing Northwest corner to the sparsely populated, highly impoverished Delta region. A statewide strategy will include growing programs on its regional campuses, expanding academic programs to address health workforce needs, nurturing coordinated affiliations with other campuses and regional health providers, and creating integrated clinical networks focused on health care quality and population health improvement. The Chancellor will also have the opportunity to pursue UAMS’s efforts to open the state’s first college of dental medicine, which would address one of the state’s major medical workforce deficiencies. Additionally, the Chancellor will oversee the continued development of UAMS’s extensive telemedicine and telehealth networks.

Advance the current strategic plan toward balancing entrepreneurialism with fiscal responsibility and excellence in all domains

The Chancellor will lead a dynamic institution that has recently undergone significant changes, including an administrative restructuring, a reorganized budget model, a new electronic health record, and the development and implementation of clinical service lines. These major changes are still rippling across the University. While the changes have yielded many benefits already, challenges and yet-unseen opportunities remain. The next Chancellor must stay the course while simultaneously refining structures to meet the needs of the University and individual units.

Manage the organization through effective business strategies and affiliations

A vibrant UAMS is essential to the future of Arkansas. The University is in a sound financial position and has implemented several initiatives to improve efficiency, reduce expenditures, and enhance revenue. There will be challenging decisions ahead, including addressing deferred maintenance issues. The Chancellor will be tasked with achieving financial steadiness and strategically allocating resources.

Developing a robust integrated clinical network with other providers will be a key aspect of UAMS’s sustainability. The University has been energetically exploring affiliations and strategic alignments with providers across the state. As an example, the University collaborated with three not-for-profit health systems in Arkansas as well as Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield to develop public health strategies and create shared services that reduce expenses. The Chancellor will pursue efforts to build affiliations while seeking other means of revenue generation and philanthropy. S/he will work to ultimately develop an operating model that balances achieving mission success with financial stability.

Support and grow a vibrant and diverse community

The Chancellor will foster and continually reinforce a climate of acceptance and inclusiveness in which all members of the UAMS community have the ability to reach their individual and collective potential. S/he will personally demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion, while maintaining a university environment that is characterized by openness, civility, and respect. The next Chancellor will provide strong leadership as UAMS refines its diversity plan. S/he will work with others to recruit and retain a diverse faculty and staff, market the University to prospective students at all levels and from all backgrounds, and ensure UAMS is an accessible and comfortable place for people from a wide array of backgrounds.

Strategically build research and translation to the bedside and beyond

The Chancellor will invest in areas of research that have the greatest impact in Arkansas and that complement research investments at other institutions in the UA System, particularly the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Based on publications and funding, UAMS is recognized nationally for research in the areas of otorhinolaryngology, pediatrics, hematology, endocrinology, psychiatry, cardiovascular systems, infectious disease, and pharmacology. Current strategic research initiatives at UAMS include work in biomedical informatics, Alzheimer’s disease, bone, and myeloma, as well as applying for National Cancer Institute designation for its cancer center, and renewal of its Clinical and Translational Science Awards funding.

The Chancellor will work collaboratively with Deans, Center Directors, and others to identify promising new areas of research in which to invest, placing emphasis on interdisciplinary research, population health, and translational research. S/he is expected to understand the challenges investigators face in seeking funding, promote a culture of innovation, foster collaboration across disciplines, and continue to develop the research infrastructure to ensure that the right structures and supports are in place to spur productivity.


The ideal candidates for Chancellor will bring a broad and proven understanding of the three pronged mission of academic medicine in a complex organization governed by an overlay of public support and regulation. The skills and experiences of an ideal candidate include the following:

  • A distinguished record of leadership and success in academic health center education, research, and patient care missions. An MD and/or PhD is preferred
  • A history of successful, collaborative, and transparent leadership
  • A deep understanding of both academic medical centers and universities, and the broad challenges and opportunities facing both
  • An uncompromising commitment to excellence in recruiting, retaining, and developing a diverse faculty, in assessing and developing outstanding educational programs, and in supporting exceptional teachers, researchers, and clinicians
  • Demonstrated strong desire, ability, and commitment to engage the medical center community
  • Effectiveness in a complex system of distributed leadership; experience developing clear systems and organizational structures, and then delegating appropriately
  • A thorough understanding of the operational and infrastructural needs of a modern health science and research institution
  • Demonstrable success in addressing inclusion and diversity
  • A capacity and strong commitment to work effectively with local communities, health care affiliates, and government officials and agencies
  • The capacity to represent UAMS compellingly to donors and lead advancement efforts
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to effectively interact with scientists and non-scientists, and to operate at the highest levels of academic, business, and government leadership
  • A record of success in building and leading clinical, research, and/or tuition revenues; strong finance and business skills
  • Experience in a large academic health science institution
  • An outstanding record of managing people and a strong team orientation
  • A willingness to circulate widely and listen well

UAMS has engaged Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in the search. Nominations, inquiries, and applications (including a CV and cover letter) should be sent to the following:

Patricia Hastie (phastie@IMSearch.com), Flip Jaeger (pjaeger@IMSearch.com), Amy Segal (asegal@imsearch.com), or Anna Graulich (AGraulich@imsearch.com)

Or via Isaacson, Millers website: www.imsearch.com/6141

Written nominations, inquiries, and applications (including emails) may be subject to disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. Inquiries can also be directed to Isaacson, Miller by phone at 202-682-1504.

UAMS is an inclusive Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Employer of individuals with disabilities and protected veterans and is committed to excellence.


UAMS Chancellor position profile (PDF)