Our 2023 Friends of ACHI Appreciation Event was a significant night for us. It was not only an opportunity to honor our partners and supporters but also a chance to celebrate our 25 years of improving the health of all Arkansans. The event took place on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the Clinton Presidential Center. One of the highlights was a short film that showcased ACHI’s accomplishments throughout its history. This includes our involvement in the creation of important health-related initiatives such as the Clean Indoor Air Act, the Arkansas Trauma System, the Arkansas Health Care Independence Program, and the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act.
This year, we decided to do something different with the Dr. Tom Bruce Arkansas Health Impact Award. Instead of honoring one or two individuals, the ACHI Health Policy Board wanted to recognize the entire workforce of the Arkansas Department of Health for their outstanding impact on the health of Arkansans. Dr. Andrew Kumpuris, the Board Chair, presented a plaque to state Secretary of Health Renee Mallory, RN, BSN, who accepted it on behalf of the department’s staff.
Another exciting announcement made during the event came from our President and CEO, Dr. Joe Thompson. He revealed that Antonije Lazic is the first-ever recipient of the G. Richard Smith, MD, ACHI Fellowship in Health Services and Policy Research. This one-year fellowship is named after ACHI’s founding director and is a tribute to his contributions as a former dean of the UAMS College of Medicine and executive vice chancellor of UAMS. Lazic, a Ph.D. candidate in the Health Systems and Services Program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, will spend his fellowship working alongside ACHI analysts and health policy research professionals. Together, they aim to transform data into practical information that will have a positive impact on the health of Arkansans.