Meet the Director

Dr. Wei picture

           Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D.

Hello!  Welcome to the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging! We are VERY glad that you are here. Whether you are here to see one of our world class geriatricians, work out in our fitness center, see a trained physical therapist or attend one of the many classes or programs, YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO US! And we are thrilled that you are here!

First, a few facts about us…

We are one of the most recognized geriatric centers in the nation and one of the most influential programs on the UAMS campus. In fact, our department was chosen by the International Longevity Center – U.S.A. (ILC-USA) as the focus of an in-depth assessment, with the intent to showcase our Institute on Aging and its outreach programs as a model for improving geriatric health and quality of life in the United States. The assessment resulted in a publication, “Arkansas: A Good Place to Grow Old” by the ILC-USA.


rioa_bldg-dero_sanfordThe Reynolds Institute is a leader in geriatrics for Arkansas, providing excellent services for seniors through teaching, biomedical research and patient care.  Among the institute’s many services are:

  • the Thomas and Lyon Longevity Clinic,
  • the Ottenheimer Therapy and Fitness Center,
  • the Pat and Willard Walker Family Memory Center,
  • the HouseCall program and
  • the Palliative Care service.

Each year, more than 50,000 patient visits are recorded through the Reynolds Institute on Aging. In addition, there are community outreach programs such as the Schmeiding Home Caregiver Training Courses, the UAMS Centers on Aging, Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, Silversneakers, Tai-chi, Super Noggin Classes, Drivers’ Training, and Brain Aging Series. There are also eight regional centers on aging strategically located around the state such that every older person (65 or older) is within 60 miles of a board certified or board eligible geriatrician (currently no other state in the US has this).

We are one of the larger primary care clinical programs on campus. We operate a robust and successful clinical program that not only provides superb patient care, but also serves as an ideal clinical laboratory for education and clinical research. Our physicians provide outpatient, acute, sub-acute, restorative, extended and chronic care, as well as palliative and end-of-life care.  Members of our division of Long-term Care serve as directors at five local nursing homes.

We are renowned for our many high profile research programs which, supported by NIH and other prestigious sources, have improved the lives of tens of thousands of Arkansans. These programs address several aspects of aging that may threaten a person’s functional independence, including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia
  • Frailty, weakness and falls
  • Poor nutrition and lack of exercise
  • Lack of adequate health services for older people.

We are dedicated to increasing the number of qualified geriatricians trained to treat older people. We have established a mandatory rotation in Geriatrics for medical students and have expanded our geriatrics fellowship program, which has increased the number of graduate geriatricians who elect academic careers in the field and also increased the number of practicing geriatricians in the state.

Geriatric Fellows at the UAMS Institute on Aging
What is Geriatrics and why are Geriatricians so important?

Geriatrics is the specialty that focuses on the nuances of caring for seniors, based on the understanding of the whole person, and how that individual’s age-related changes, various chronic disease conditions and treatments, and personal life journey, has resulted in where she or he is today.

Geriatrics primary care is cost-effective and emphasizes preventive medicine. Geriatricians specialize in consolidating and coordinating fragmented care for the elderly.  The goal is not to prevent death at any cost, but to maintain and/or enhance the quality of life for as long as possible.

There is now a growing shortage of Geriatricians, therein lies the major challenge of the health profession: how to convince young clinicians to do what is most needed.

The Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics Education Program, within the College of Medicine at UAMS, is training future Geriatricians through our Geriatrics Fellowship Program.  Our faculty also teach Geriatric Medicine to all UAMS medical students, in addition to training students from the Colleges of Pharmacy, Nursing, Health Professions, and Public Health.  We also have a doctoral program in the Graduate School of the College of Medicine that, as part of the interdisciplinary biomedical sciences program, can confer the PhD degree in the “Pathobiology of Aging” track.

The department’s academic program is currently ranked in the top 10% of 144 medical schools by U. S. News & World Report and is the only academic program at UAMS ever to rank in the top 10% in the nation.

We are deeply honored and privileged to train the future generation of health professionals caring for seniors.

With warm appreciation and deep gratitude for your ongoing support of such a fabulous institute,

Jeanne Y. Wei, M.D., Ph.D
Executive Director, Reynolds Institute on Aging
Professor and Chair, Department of Geriatrics,
UAMS College of Medicine

Did you know…

  • Jeanne Y. Wei, MD, PhD, who came to us from Harvard Medical School where she served as director of the Division on Aging, has generated a new sense of purpose and a vigorous desire to train more geriatricians, to advance research, and to prepare for a nation in which older adults are in the majority. Wei, geriatrician and cardiologist, has received NIH funding for more than 30 years and served on numerous peer review study session.  She has served as a consultant on many federal and state agencies, gained acclaim for her teaching, and authored six books, including a widely used geriatric textbook.
  • The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation (whose gift funded the current building and establishment of the geriatrics department at UAMS) awarded more than $99M to the Institute on Aging for the building (8 stories), the department, and the educational & teaching programs. The vertical expansion has increased the total square footage of the building to 156,000. Construction was completed in the fall of 2012.