UAMS Chooses Smith to Lead New Service Line

By Spencer Watson

Smith will transition out of his current role as executive associate dean in the UAMS College of Medicine, to oversee planning, development and implementation of the service line, which includes working with the chairs of the various primary care-oriented departments.

“With the opening of our new neighborhood clinics at Financial Centre Parkway and Rahling Road, we are accelerating the startup of the Primary Care Service Line to adequately support these clinics,” said Roxane Townsend, M.D., vice chancellor for clinical programs and CEO of UAMS Medical Center.

A service line is a grouping of all products and services within a division to improve coordination of services for the patient. Eventually, all primary care services sponsored and supported by UAMS will be a part of the service line.

“As founder of the UAMS Center for Primary Care, Dr. Smith has been focusing increasingly on this vital component of our clinical enterprise in the past few years. He is ideally suited for this new role,” said Townsend, also citing Smith’s 25 years in promoting clinical programs and clinical teaching in the College of Medicine.

Smith joined the faculty as a professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and associate dean for clinical affairs in 1989 and was promoted to executive dean in 2007. For a number of years, he served as both associate dean and the UAMS Medical Center medical director. Among many accomplishments, Smith established the Physician Relations Office to improve processes for referrals and communication with referring physicians. He also founded the Diagnostic Clinic for referrals.

“I am very proud to have been a part of this institution for many years, and I look forward to continuing to serve in this new role as our approach to primary care continues to evolve and be improved,” said Smith.

Always dedicated to providing more effective health care for Arkansas, Smith has long had an interest in and been an advocate for electronic medical record (EMR) implementation and facilitating the use of web technology. He chaired the implementation committee for the campus’ first EMR system and has remained an active leader in EMR adoption, including the comprehensive new EPIC system.

Smith has also been a leader in the development of online physician consultation and a patient portal that allows patients to access lab tests and pay their bill online. In 1997, in the early years of widespread public adoption of the Internet, he founded an award-winning, Web-based medical information company, eDocAmerica, a UAMS BioVentures-supported startup that provides patients with tools, information and input from medical professionals to help individuals make better decisions about their health and health care.

Smith is a founding co-editor in chief of the Journal of Participatory Medicine, an online, peer-reviewed journal of the Society of Participatory Medicine. He has served as president of the American Board of Family Medicine, deputy editor of American Family Physician, and chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Faculty Practice. He has published many articles in his field and co-authored a book, the Handbook of Family Practice.

Prior to his recruitment to UAMS, Smith was dean of the School of Primary Medical Care at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Huntsville. He received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where he completed his family practice residency.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state's Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — COPD, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and four dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.