UAMS Names New Department Chairs

Frederick "Rick" E. Barr, M.D.

LITTLE ROCK -- The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has named two new Department Chairmen.

Frederick "Rick" E. Barr, M.D., was named chair of the Department of Pediatrics and associate dean for child health in the UAMS College of Medicine, as well as pediatrician-in-chief for Arkansas Children's, effective Oct. 1.

Barr succeeds Richard F. Jacobs, M.D., who retired June 30 after 35 years of service on the faculty at UAMS and Arkansas Children's, including 11 years as chair of the Department of Pediatrics. Steve Schexnayder, M.D., professor and chief of the Critical Care Medicine Section, will continue serving as interim chair until Barr's arrival.

Barr called Jacobs a leader in the field and said he considers Jacobs a mentor.

Barr, a pediatric critical care specialist, is currently the Suzan B. Thames endowed professor, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and senior associate dean for Graduate Medical Education at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. He is also physician-in-chief at Children's of Mississippi/Batson Children's Hospital, where he has served since 2011.

Barr is also principal investigator for the Mississippi Pediatric Clinical Trials Center, one of 17 sites in the IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network, the National Institutes of Health initiative being overseen by the Data Coordinating and Operations Center established through a $41.8 million grant to UAMS in September.

Barr previously served on the faculty at Vanderbilt University from 1995 to 2010. He was chief of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care from 2007 to 2010. He also served as co-director of Vanderbilt University Master's in Clinical Investigation Program, a component of Vanderbilt's National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). In 2010-2011 he was an endowed professor of Pediatric Critical Care and director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center, a CTSA-funded program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital and the University of Cincinnati.

Barr received his undergraduate degree in animal and veterinary science at West Virginia University in 1984 and his medical degree from the University of Virginia in 1988. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Vanderbilt. Barr continued his training with a clinical fellowship in pediatric critical care at the University of California San Francisco, where he was also a research fellow in the Cardiovascular Research Institute. While on the faculty at Vanderbilt in 2002 he obtained a Master's of Science in clinical investigation.

Robert L. "Lee" Archer, M.D.

Robert L. "Lee" Archer, M.D., was named chair of the Department of Neurology in the College of Medicine at (UAMS), effective Aug. 1.

Archer, who has lead the department on an interim basis since July 2016, has served on the UAMS faculty for more than 30 years, providing world-class care for Arkansans with multiple sclerosis (MS), while teaching and mentoring many future neurologists. He has earned the admiration of his patients, students, residents and colleagues.

Archer also will focus on strengthening ties with the basic science faculty at UAMS, particularly in bioinformatics, to fully take advantage of research, education and collaboration opportunities. He will advance the department's research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by filling two endowed chair positions in association with the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. He will continue to work closely with the UAMS Department of Neurosurgery to ensure patients receive seamless care from diagnosis to surgery to follow-up care.

Archer, who is highly regarded in the MS patient community, will continue to spend about half of his time on patient care. He has trained and hired a second physician, Carolyn Mehaffey, M.D., to continue to serve MS patients in Arkansas and allow the UAMS MS clinic to accept new patients.

Archer received his medical degree from the College of Medicine in 1982. He completed his residency at UAMS, joined the faculty in 1986 and has held the rank of professor since 2008. He founded UAMS' Multiple Sclerosis Service in 1987 and co-directed the Muscular Dystrophy Association Clinic at UAMS from 1989 to 2003.

Archer is president-elect of the Arkansas Medical Society. He is also active in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and several civic organizations. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Association (ARORA) since 2005 and chaired the organization in 2014-2016.

Among many honors, Archer was invested in 2007 as the inaugural holder of the Major and Ruth Nodini Chair in Neurology, which was established with $1 million in donations to support his clinical care, research into MS and educational programs. One initiative partially funded by the endowment is the MS Fellowship developed and led by Archer, which graduated its first fellow -- new faculty member Mehaffey -- this past June.

Graduating College of Medicine seniors have awarded Archer three Gold Sash and numerous Red Sash awards for his teaching. He received the Distinguished Faculty Award from the College of Medicine Alumni Association in 2007. In 1999 he received the inaugural Humanism in Medicine Award for faculty in the college. He received the UAMS Helen May Compassionate Care Award in 2015 and was honored later that year as the Physician of the Year in the Arkansas Business Health Care Heroes ceremony. Among many "Best Doctors" recognitions he was voted in 2010 as the Best Neurologist in Arkansas and featured on the cover of the Arkansas Times.

Archer has been married to his wife, Nancy, for 40 years.


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