The inaugural edition of Arkansas Money & Politics’ Outstanding Health Care Professionals features some of the state’s finest in the field of medicine. For the last three months, AMP has received hundreds of nominations and thousands of votes for those who would be considered the most outstanding hospital CEO, physician, nurse, small and large hospital, mental health facility, insurance provider, nurse practitioner, as well as women’s, men’s and children’s health provider, lifetime achievement, volunteerism, and best place to work. The following health care professionals and institutions represent the best in their respective category, as chosen by their peers from across the state of Arkansas.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Kent Westbrook
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Surgical oncologist Kent Westbrook has made a career of helping Arkansans fight cancer. A professor in the in the Department of Surgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Westbrook co-founded the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, now known as the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, and was its director from 1984-1998.
“We raised money, recruited faculty, and implemented the multi-disciplinary programs that make up the Cancer Institute,” Westbrook says.
After stepping down as director in 1998, he served in numerous roles including chairman of the Department of Surgery from 1999-2002, Arkansas Trauma System medical director from 2007-2009, interim vice chancellor for development in 2011, and chairman of the Department of Dermatology from 2014-2015. He continues to work daily as a teacher, advisor, fundraiser and clinician.
“It is exciting to be recognized for doing what I love. The opportunity to care for others when they are sick, afraid, and in need is amazing,” Westbrook says. “Rewards occur every day with every patient and family. Long-term rewards occur when good change is produced in the system. I have been able to participate in that change. I am grateful to be a doctor and to receive this award.
“I look forward to the time when all Americans will have easy access to good health care.”