/////Psychiatric Research Institute Becomes UAMS Center of Excellence
Psychiatric Research Institute Becomes UAMS Center of Excellence 2018-01-05T09:15:54+00:00

Aug. 9, 2006 |The Psychiatric Research Institute, which will see its new home open in 2008, has been named the sixth Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).


The designation represents a convergence of a facility, faculty, staff and programs focused on a particular cause, said UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D.


“Becoming a Center of Excellence shows the combination of a facility and talented people addressing an area of great need through all elements of our UAMS mission: education, research, treatment and community service,” Wilson said.


G. Richard Smith, M.D., as the Institute’s first director, will become a member of the Chancellor’s Administrative Cabinet, which includes the directors of each Center of Excellence, deans of the UAMS colleges and other senior campus administrators. The group advises the chancellor on campus policy and direction. Smith also is a professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry in the UAMS College of Medicine.


“Dr. Smith is an outstanding leader and his perspective and experience will be welcomed,” Wilson said.


Teresa L. Kramer, Ph.D., chief psychologist and associate professor in the department’s Division of Health Services Research, has been appointed the PRI’s associate director.


The Centers of Excellence work in partnership with the UAMS Medical Center. Other UAMS Centers of Excellence are the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, the Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging.


The PRI facility will consolidate the Department of Psychiatry’s resources under one roof. The department is currently scattered among 13 locations in central Arkansas and has about 50,000 visits per year that will move to the new building.  The department in its larger scope includes the VA Hospital, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the Arkansas State Hospital, which together care for more than1,200 patients daily.


“This designation demonstrates the dedication of UAMS to mental health issues in Arkansas. Treatment, research and education programs can best be advanced by locating them in the same building,” Smith said.


“Further, the strategic value of the PRI is important given that the state’s only public psychiatric hospital, the Arkansas State Hospital, is just across the street and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, where our UAMS faculty are on staff, has one of the largest and most active psychiatric facilities in the nation,” Smith said.


The five-story, 100,000-square-foot PRI, located adjacent to the hospital expansion and new parking deck also under construction, will include outpatient and inpatient services as well as research and education space. Two floors have been named for donors: the Fred and Louise Dierks Research Laboratories and the Walker Family Clinic. Concrete work is now underway, and the building is scheduled to open in August 2008.