Curriculum and Residency Management Administrators (CARMA) Team

Shashank KraletiShashank Kraleti, M.D., FAAFP, became the Residency Program Director in May 2016.  He holds the Jack W. Kennedy Chair in Family and Preventive Medicine, is a graduate of the AFMRD National Institute for Program Director Development, and is also a CME Medical Director. In 2016, he received a New Faculty Scholar Award from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. In addition to his published research articles, Dr. Kraleti has had papers accepted for presentations in national arenas such as the North American Primary Care Research Group, STFM, and the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development in Canada. He has appeared on Little Rock television several times to discuss topics such as heat-related illnesses and adult immunizations and is the author of a newspaper column on health issues. Dr. Kraleti leads a procedural half-day clinic and frequently teaches procedures to residents and medical students. His clinical interests include hypertension, diabetes, preventive care, behavioral medicine, research, and procedures. Prior to joining the faculty in 2012 at the rank of assistant professor, Dr. Kraleti was chief resident in our program and was fundamental in implementing the night float system in the department. He was also the recipient of the STAR Professionalism Award and the AAFP Scholarship Award. When he is away from work, he serves as the President of the Global Illumine Corporation, a non-profit charitable organization that transforms lives and communities by supporting education of the young and needful.  Dr. Kraleti enjoys listening to music, watching movies, traveling, and swimming.

Diane Jarrett, Ed.D.Diane Jarrett, Ed.D., is the DFPM Director of Education and Communications, and the Assistant Director of the residency program.  Her duties include curriculum design, program evaluation, coordination of the noon conference series, and teaching residents on subjects such as becoming culturally competent and improving presentation skills.  Dr. Jarrett also directs educational activities for the divisions of Community Health and Education and Medical Student Education and is a CME Medical Director.  She serves as the department webmaster, coordinates faculty development activities, and edits the alumni newsletter.  Over the years, she has made presentations at conferences everywhere from New York to Denver to Saskatchewan.  She holds the rank of Assistant Professor, is the DFPM faculty liaison with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is a member of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, the American Educational Research Association, and Mensa International.  Dr. Jarrett’s master’s degree is in journalism and her doctorate is in higher education administration.  When she isn’t working, she enjoys writing about classic films.  She has had five publications (so far!) in the international journal Films of the Golden Age — biographical essays on William BoydGeorge Macready, Micky Moore, and Jack Doyle, and an analysis of the 1943 film The Seventh Victim. Her publications in Classic Images include profiles of actors Richard Todd and Ray Dixon.


Shannon HeardShannon Heard, B.A., M.B.A., is the Residency Coordinator who provides administrative support for the residency program.  She was originally hired in 2010 in the residency program as an Administrative Analyst for the HRSA grant project on service to underserved populations.  When the grant funding ended in 2012, she was hired by our Research division, where she ultimately became a Project Specialist.  In September 2013, she returned to the residency program as the Residency Coordinator.  Her B.A. is in economics (with distinction) from the University of the South, and her M.B.A. is from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Clinical Faculty

Michael Cassat, M.D.Michael Cassat, M.D. joined the faculty in March 2015 and brings extensive clinical experience in sports and musculoskeletal medicine. Dr. Cassat graduated from the UAMS medical school in 2002 and completed his residency at the Area Health Education Center in Fayetteville in 2005. After practicing primary care and sports medicine in Springdale, Dr. Cassat moved to Vail, Colorado.  He received additional training in sports and musculoskeletal medicine at The Steadman Clinic and practiced there until his return to Arkansas, where he was most recently affiliated with Arkansas Specialty Orthopedics.  Dr. Cassat sees patients of all ages for sports related injuries, as well as other musculoskeletal problems.  He also maintains a primary care patient panel and supervises residents in both the Family Medical Center and the hospital.  He focuses on the rapid recovery of non-surgical injuries through both imaging guided injections as well as physical therapy.

Julea Garner, M.D.Julea Garner, M.D., joined the DFPM faculty in 2014 at the rank of assistant professor and is the program director for the Baptist/UAMS Family Medicine residency program. She is a graduate of the UAMS medical school and completed her Family Medicine residency at Harrisburg Hospital (Pennsylvania) and served as chief resident. Dr. Garner completed a Primary Care Health Policy Fellowship with the U.S. Public Health Services and was the Assistant Director of Education for the American Academy of Family Physicians working with medical students and residents nationally for several years. She then transitioned home to rural Arkansas working in solo private practice for more than 18 years. In 2014, Dr. Garner joined the UAMS faculty and traveled from her rural community once per month to train the residents on aspects of rural medicine. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking and eating.


Kristin Garner, M.D.Kristin Garner, M.D., is an assistant professor in Family Medicine and a sports medicine specialist in the Musculoskeletal Service Line. She sees patients at the UAMS Orthopedic Clinic on Colonel Glenn Road.  Dr. Garner received her medical degree from UAMS in 2013. She completed her Family Medicine residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, and continued her training there as chief fellow in the Sports Medicine fellowship. Dr. Garner has also worked as a high school team physician and athletic injury specialist in Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas, schools.


Jamie Howard, M.D.Jamie Howard, M.D., is the Medical Director of the Family Medical Center which is the clinical teaching facility for the residency program. She directs the Preventive Occupational and Environmental Medicine Division and UAMS Student and Employee Health Services. She also oversees the clinical laboratory and is director of the Department’s Quality Improvement (QI) program. Women’s health, Continuous Quality Improvement, Practice Management and Medical Informatics are areas of personal interest and expertise. She is certified by the American Board of Family Practice.


Mark Jansen, M.D.Mark Jansen, M.D. joined the faculty in 2013 and is currently an associate professor. In 2016, he was invested as the inaugural recipient of the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, George K. Mitchell M.D. Endowed Chair in Primary Care. He comes from private practice in the college town of Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He is a 1981 graduate of UAMS and finished his family practice residency at the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa Medical College in 1984. Dr. Jansen has a special interest in dermatology and dermatological procedures. He also sponsors the UAMS Executive Physical Program. He has a focus on the business aspects of medicine including current payment reforms and serves as the primary care director of the UAMS/Baptist Health ACO. He is involved with physician recruitment and retention for the campus. Dr. Jansen is also Chief Medical Officer for the UAMS Regional Programs (AHECs).


Stephen King, M.D.Stephen King, M.D., is a hospitalist for the Family Medicine service. He graduated from UAMS in 1984 and completed his postgraduate training at Family Medicine Spokane (Washington). He was in private practice for 15 years in Spokane and later worked urgent care and emergency medicine before moving to hospital medicine. He was previously employed by UAMS in El Dorado at the AHEC (now Regional Programs) residency as interim residency director where he lead the program through successful accreditation. Through his career he has been involved in medical education at various levels, and he loves teaching. One of his most fulfilling medical endeavors was working in a refugee camp in Ethiopia during the famine of 1985. Dr. King is happily married to Beth and is the father of two beautiful girls, Mary and Lydia.

Daniel Knight, M.D.Daniel Knight, M.D., FAAFP, Department Chair and former Residency Program Director, joined the faculty in 1999.  He is board certified by the ABFM.  He was in private family practice for 6 years and was a full time Emergency Physician for 5 years prior to returning to UAMS.  Dr. Knight is a board member of the AAFP and a member of the UAMS Minority Recruitment and Retention Committee and the UAMS Council of Department Chairs.  He has completed the National Institute for Program Director Development Fellowship for residency directors.  He is a member of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine, the AAFP, and the STFM.  Dr. Knight serves the community as a board member of the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation, providing safe, affordable housing to lower-income members of the community. From 1999 to 2009, he served as the residency Program Director.

Anil Kopparapu, M.D.Anil Kopparapu, M.D., M.P.H, joined our faculty in 2016. He is a graduate of the Family Medicine residency program at the State University of New York at Buffalo and has a master of public health degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. His professional experience includes working as a hospitalist at Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania and at Holston Valley Medical Center in Tennessee. Dr. Kopparapu’s outside interests include watching movies and traveling, and he enjoys tennis and cricket.


Martha Lauster, M.D. joined the department as a part-time preceptor in 2016. She was a full-time faculty member in the DFPM from 2005 to 2010, and she left to complete a fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine at UAMS. Since then, she has worked as a State Agency Medical Consultant for Disability Determination for Social Security Administration, and prior to that she worked as a hospice physician. Currently, she works as a Staff Physician at Grand Rounds, an online company that coordinates provision of high-quality care to people all over the United States. Dr. Lauster attended medical school and completed a family medicine residency at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her clinical interests include people, first and foremost! Medical conditions of particular interest include pediatrics, breastfeeding medicine, women’s health, and lupus and other autoimmune conditions. She enjoys teaching residents, knitting, reading, and spending time with her family and dogs.

David A. Nelsen, Jr., M.D., M.S., practiced medicine in rural Arkansas for five years and served on the faculty at the University of Minnesota before joining the Department. He completed a faculty development fellowship and a Master of Science in Family and Community Medicine at the University of Minnesota. He is an active clinician and is certified by the American Board of Family Practice. Dr. Nelsen is the Assistant Medical Director for Clinical Informatics for the UAMS campus. In this role he is the primary physician representative for informatics issues relative to inpatient and outpatient information systems.


Charles Smith, M.D.Charles W. Smith, M.D., is director of the Primary Care Service Line at UAMS and is professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine where he has been serving since 1989. In his role at UAMS, he also serves as the medical director for the service line, which consists of all of the UAMS clinics in Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, and Geriatrics as well as the UAMS Neighborhood Clinics. See more about Dr. Smith.



Stephen Sorsby, M.D., M.H.A.Stephen Sorsby, M.D., M.H.A. joined our faculty in early 2017 and is the medical director for the FMC. He received his medical degree from UAMS and went on to complete a residency in Family Medicine at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington, where he served as Chief Resident. He holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Washington, Seattle. From 2011 through 2016, Dr. Sorsby served as Medical Director, Vice President of Medical Affairs, and the Chief Medical Officer for QualChoice. Prior to working at QualChoice, Dr. Sorsby served as the Regional Medical Director at US HealthWorks in both Washington and Utah. He ran his own family practice clinic (Delta Family Practice) in Helena, Arkansas, from 1992-1995. Dr. Sorsby is board certified in Family Medicine and in Occupational Medicine,  and is a member of the American Association for Physician Leadership, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

William VentresWilliam Ventres, M.D., M.A., joined the faculty in 2017 after working internationally for six years. Clinically, he has many years’ experience in safety-net clinics and corrections health. His other professional interests lie in global family medicine, physician-patient communication, and the use of qualitative methods in health care research. Dr. Ventres completed his undergraduate studies at Duke University, graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School, and holds master’s degrees in anthropology and in systems counseling. He is a fluent Spanish speaker.

Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Bala

Appathurai Balamurugan, M.D., Dr.P.H., M.P.H. (or Dr. Bala as he prefers to be called) is a board-certified family physician and an epidemiologist. He joined the department as an adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor in September 2013 and precepts residents and medical students at UAMS Family Medical Center clinic. He obtained his medical degree from India, and completed his Family Medicine residency at our program. During his residency, Dr. Bala served as a chief resident. He obtained his Master of Public Health with emphasis in Epidemiology from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He further obtained his Doctorate in Public Health with emphasis in Health Policy and Epidemiology from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. Dr. Bala serves as the State Chronic Disease Director, and the Medical Director for the Chronic Disease Branch at the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). In this capacity, he oversees and provides medical guidance to chronic disease programs such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, nutrition and physical activity across the state through the ADH’s local health units. Additionally, he also serves as an adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Epidemiology in UAMS College of Public Health. He is widely published both in national and internationally reputed journals, and has obtained numerous awards for his work. These include the Director’s “Science Award” for his contribution to Arkansas Department of Health, the “Chronic Disease Champion” by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), and the “Physician Volunteer of the Year” award for his voluntary work at the Harmony Health Clinic, which serves the uninsured and underinsured residents of central Arkansas. Dr. Bala also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the Arkansas Medical Society.

Lindy BollenLindy Bollen Jr., D.D.S. is the Director of the Office of Oral Health at the Arkansas Department of Health.  He joined our faculty at the rank of Adjunct Clinical Instructor in April 2015 and will lead our curriculum in oral health.  A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, Dr. Bollen completed his dental education at the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry in 1983.  He was in private practice for twenty-plus years when he moved into the academia world by joining the faculty at UAMS in 2006.  As a member of the Department of Dental Hygiene, Dr. Bollen was responsible for lectures in oral anatomy, oral medicine/pathology and pharmacology along with his duties as a clinical supervising dentist.  In May 2014, Dr. Bollen joined the Department of Health and looks forward to contributing to the improvement of oral health in his native state of Arkansas.

RED (Research and Evaluation Division) Community Research Group Faculty

Get more information about the faculty in our Community Research Group.