UAMS Names Kirt Simmons, DDS, Ph.D., Chair of Department of Pediatric and Special Needs Dentistry

By Yavonda Chase

A professor in the UAMS College of Medicine, Simmons is a nationally recognized leader in orthodontic care for patients with cleft/craniofacial anomalies, growth disorders, and special needs such as Down syndrome, autism and other conditions. He is also a leading expert in facial growth, development and identification, and orthodontic and dental digital standards.

“I am delighted that Dr. Simmons has agreed to take on this role,” said Susan Smyth, M.D., Ph.D., UAMS executive vice chancellor and dean of the College of Medicine. “A longtime leader at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s, he has done a wonderful job as interim chair. I know the department is in good hands.”

He earned his DDS and a Ph.D. in pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He completed his residency in orthodontics and a National Institutes of Health-fellowship in craniofacial anomalies at the University of North Carolina (UNC). He held faculty posts at Indiana University and UNC before his recruitment to UAMS and Arkansas Children’s in 1997. In 1998, he was named Arkansas Children’s orthodontic director, a position he has held since.

Simmons has served in leadership positions with the Arkansas Association of Orthodontists, the Southwest Society of Orthodontists, the American Association of Orthodontists and the American Dental Association. He is a Fellow of the International College of Dentists. He has served since 2015 on the Facial Identification Subcommittee of the Organization of Scientific Advisory Committees in the U.S. Department of Justice. He also serves as the orthodontic reviewer for program accreditation for the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. He has published extensively and has lectured internationally on his areas of expertise.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight 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, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.