$250,000 Gift Supports Education, Research, Patient Care at UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute

By Benjamin Waldrum

The gift will have a far-reaching impact for patients across the state. The donor asked to remain anonymous.

“I want to personally thank this donor for their commitment to improving access to quality mental health care,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA. “Their investment in the Psychiatric Research Institute and its programs for mental health will make a huge difference for patients across our state. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the institute’s virtual health programs have been a lifeline for countless Arkansans.”

The gift supports the G. Richard Smith, M.D. Fund for Excellence in the Psychiatric Research Institute. Smith is chair of the Department of Psychiatry and oversaw the design and construction of the Psychiatric Research Institute, which opened in 2008. In 2013, he became dean of the UAMS College of Medicine and executive vice chancellor, a position he held for two years before stepping down to become a professor of psychiatry, medicine and public health. In 2018, he was again named chair of the Department of Psychiatry.

Smith will retire from UAMS in June 2021. He leaves behind a legacy of service to the state of Arkansas, particularly his leadership role in the founding of UAMS’ Psychiatric Research Institute, his tireless advocacy for increased access to mental health services and his contributions to the research and treatment of psychiatric illness. This gift honors his legacy and provides funding to address urgent priorities at the institute.

“This generous gift will allow the Psychiatric Research Institute to invest in research, educational and clinical programs,” Smith said. “The flexibility allows us to meet critical unexpected needs or take advantage of quickly developing opportunities. We are very grateful for this wonderful gift.”

The Psychiatric Research Institute has three inpatient units and provides outpatient care, with specialty services in neuropsychology, trauma, addiction, women’s mental health, mood disorders and eating disorders. In 2019, the institute launched the Center for Trauma Prevention, Recovery and Innovation to ensure access to trauma screening and treatment for all Arkansans. In May, the institute launched AR-Connect, a 24-hour call center and weekday virtual clinic for anyone dealing with mental health issues or stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.