UA Little Rock to Honor Alum Dr. Sara Tariq at 2022 Taste of Little Rock

Dr. Sara Tariq

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s highly anticipated culinary and social event, Taste of Little Rock, will return March 29.

UA Little Rock will honor alumna Dr. Sara Tariq, associate dean for student affairs in the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), as the 2022 Taste of Little Rock honoree.

“I am deeply honored to be a part of Taste of Little Rock,” Tariq said. “As a child of immigrant parents from India, I have a first-hand understanding of the economic and social challenges that some students face. Getting a scholarship to UA Little Rock allowed me to focus solely on my studies. The faculty at UA Little Rock provided me with the mentorship and knowledge to take the next steps in my career, which included getting admitted to medical school at UAMS.”

The event is set for 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, at the Jack Stephens Center. Taste of Little Rock raises funds to help students through the UA Little Rock Alumni Association Scholarship Fund while introducing guests to some of the best food in the city from the finest restaurants in Little Rock. During the past 16 years, Taste of Little Rock has raised more than $682,000 for student scholarships.

“We are excited to honor Dr. Tariq for her passion to impact the lives of Arkansans through education,” said Kristi Smith, senior director of development. “During her time as a student, she was enrolled in the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program, which presented her with foundational tools of research and writing that she has used for the betterment of society. She is an outstanding example of the best and brightest from UA Little Rock who have graduated and enjoyed success in their chosen fields. ”

Tariq, who is well-known among UAMS medical students as a compassionate educator and mentor, is a nationally recognized leader in medical education and an exceptional physician who teaches by example. She is a 1993 graduate of UA Little Rock who holds  a bachelor’s degree in biology. In 2018, Tariq was named Outstanding Alumni of the Year for the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program at UA Little Rock. This year, Hendrix College will award her the Ethel K. Millar Award for Religion and Social Awareness.

Tariq received her medical degree from UAMS in 1998 and completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She joined the UAMS faculty in 2002 after serving as chief resident at Brown University. She is a professor of internal medicine and serves as medical director of the Center for Clinical Skills Education.

A firm believer in giving back to the community, Tariq’s philanthropic efforts in the Little Rock community are immense. She has served as president of the board of the Harmony Health Clinic, which serves the uninsured and underserved population in Pulaski County, for the past decade, and has co-chaired the annual Bollywood Nights gala for many years.

“I strongly believe in lifting others up so we can all be successful in this state,” Tariq said. “Delivering primary care to the uninsured people of Little Rock at Harmony Clinic, promoting social justice by serving on the board of Just Communities of Arkansas, and serving on Mayor Frank Scott’s transition team have helped me continue to serve the people of this state, but also helped me grow as an individual. I want future UA Little Rock graduates to have the same opportunities for growth and leadership as I have had. I am ecstatic to support UA Little Rock students by raising money for scholarships.”

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tariq started a community mask campaign with two UAMS physicians to financially support women who have lost their jobs during the pandemic. The women are given sewing machines to help stitch face masks and donate masks to those in need. So far, the campaign has raised more than $16,000 and distributed more than 4,000 face masks.

“When the pandemic hit, so many people felt helpless,” Tariq said. “While small at first, now we are not only helping Muslims and immigrant communities, but we are also providing face masks to several faith communities, nursing homes, and churches whose congregations primarily consist of colored, marginalized, or low-income communities in central Arkansas.”

Stephanie Caruthers, a managing partner at Trio’s restaurant and co-chair of Taste of Little Rock, emphasized the importance of raising scholarship funds for college students. Loris Fullerton, a member of the UA Little Rock Alumni Board of Directors, is also serving as co-chair of Taste of Little Rock.

“The Alumni Association scholarships are an important part of our support and advocacy for the university and, as an Alumni Association Board member, I am able to experience first-hand the impact of Taste of Little Rock scholarships,” Caruthers said. “I have had the privilege of interviewing scholarship applicants, and that process has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my board service. I am so excited about what we have in store for Taste of Little Rock this year!”

Dozens of restaurants from across the capital city will serve a “taste” of one of their most popular, or new, offerings. From small bites, to drinks, to desserts – there will be a wide variety of delicious “tastes” to enjoy!

General admission tickets are $75. UA Little Rock alumni who have graduated within the last five years can purchase tickets for just $35. Learn about sponsorship opportunities and purchase tickets to Taste of Little Rock at ualr.at/taste.

For more information, contact Derrick Newby, associate director of membership and engagement at UA Little Rock, at dxnewby@ualr.edu or 501-916-3208.

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