UAMS Invests Brian W. Kirkpatrick, M.D., MSPH, in Dr. John Emmett Peters Endowed Chair in Psychiatry

By Andrew Vogler

“I am very fortunate to have had great colleagues, friends and family members, and I cannot thank them enough for supporting me through my career,” said Kirkpatrick. “I shared with you stories about things they said to me because I think it is what matters in making a career — the connections along the way.”

Kirkpatrick is a nationally and internationally renowned expert on schizophrenia and related disorders, whose pioneering research has advanced many life-changing treatments.

The chair was established with a gift of $1 million by an anonymous donor in honor of the late John Emmett Peters, M.D., a distinguished child psychiatrist who served UAMS and the central Arkansas community for more than 30 years.


Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, welcomed guests and spoke about the importance of endowed chairs.Evan Lewis

“Endowed chairs are used to honor our most prolific and dedicated academicians, people who provide incredible clinical care, great education and the research that allows us to get better at what we are here to do,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, UAMS chancellor and CEO of UAMS Health. “Dr. Kirkpatrick, I cannot thank you enough for what you’ve done. You are deserving of an honor such as this, and we are grateful for what you have contributed and what you will do in the future.”

An endowed chair is among the highest academic honors a university can bestow on a faculty member. A chair is established with gifts of at least $1 million, which are invested, and the interest proceeds used to support the educational, research and clinical activities of the chair holder. Those named to a chair are among the most highly regarded scientists, physicians and professors in their fields.

Peters was committed to promoting mental health and improving mental health care in Arkansas, serving in numerous capacities on various boards and organizations. Peters began his tenure at UAMS in 1954 as an assistant professor of psychiatry and directed the Children’s Psychiatry Clinic from 1955 to 1962. He left UAMS to serve as director of the Pavlovian Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1962 to 1964. He resumed work at UAMS in 1964 as a professor of psychiatry and held several positions through 1986.

“It is truly an honor to celebrate the generosity and philanthropic spirit that has created this chair,” said Steven Webber, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine and UAMS executive vice chancellor. “It is also wonderful to reflect on the legacy of the namesake of this chair, the late Dr. John Emmett Peters, and his pioneering leadership in psychiatry in Arkansas.”

Kirkpatrick graduated from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and completed his residency in psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). After residency, he participated in the UNC Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, receiving a Master of Science in Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology. He also completed a fellowship in neuropharmacology at UNC.

Kirkpatrick joined the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Catonsville and later served as vice chair of psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia. He subsequently served as chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Scott & White Hospital and the Texas A&M School of Medicine, and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. He joined the UAMS Department of Psychiatry in 2022.


Brian Kirkpatrick, M.D., MSPH, addressed guests at his investiture.Evan Lewis

Throughout his career Kirkpatrick has focused on schizophrenia and related disorders. He co-chaired the Consensus Development Conference on Negative Symptoms sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He has received competitive funding from NIMH, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and the Scottish Rite Foundation. He served as an associate editor of Clinical Schizophrenia and Related Psychoses and is on the editorial board of Schizophrenia Bulletin.

“Over the course of his distinguished career, Dr. Kirkpatrick has been dedicated to improving the lives of people with psychiatric disorders as well as advancing our understanding of mental illness,” said Laura B. Dunn, M.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry and director of the Psychiatric Research Institute. “This chair, established through a transformative gift, will empower Dr. Kirkpatrick to continue and further expand his life-changing activities in all mission areas of this academic institution. I cannot wait to see all the wonderful things that you will continue to accomplish.”

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.