A native of Karachi, Pakistan, and the youngest of 10 children, Dr. Gohar Azhar had always been passionate about the study of aging. She never imagined, however, that her passion would bring her to Arkansas, a state she'd never even visited and knew very little about.

Azhar set her destiny in motion when she accepted a fellowship at Harvard Medical School in Boston. For nine years, she trained as a physician/scientist in geriatrics under renowned geriatrician Dr. Jeanne Wei. Then Wei accepted a position as director of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Reynolds Institute on Aging in Little Rock.

Not long after, Azhar also left Boston for UAMS to continue research with Wei, who she describes as "the best mentor possible." "I came to UAMS because there was a good aging program already established, there was great community support, and, unexpectedly, there were so many people here excited about aging and interested in aging research," said Azhar. "It's very exciting to work in a place that gives so much emphasis to a field I'm so passionate about."

One of Azhar's favorite things about living in Arkansas is the temperate climate. "I went from shoveling snow six months a year and actually having to dig my car out of the snow, to living here, where it's beautiful and the weather is good," said Azhar.

The small-town feel of Arkansas's capital city also gets rave reviews from Azhar, who likes the shorter commute to work and the fewer traffic challenges.

Although Azhar doesn't have a lot of spare time, she enjoys relaxing at her home in the Leawood neighborhood while watching birds at the feeder and honing her photography skills. "Everything is as perfect as it can be. Often, I think of it and realize what a wonderful choice I have made."

Insider Knowledge

Where to eat:
  • Brave New Restaurant - Excellent view of the Arkansas River and delicious food; try the Scallops Rockefeller.
  • Copper Grill Urban downtown vibe; try the Not Your Mom's Homemade Mac & Cheese Balls.
What to Do:
  • Arkansas Arts Center - Highly regarded for its collection of works on paper.
  • Pinnacle Mountain State Park - Located just west of Little Rock, the park offers ample hiking trails, including two that lead to the mountain's summit.