UAMS Selects Dunn to Head Department of Psychiatry, Institute for Psychiatric Research | New



The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has selected Laura B. Dunn, MD, as the next chair of the Department of Psychiatry at UAMS College of Medicine and Director of the Institute for Psychiatric Research.

Currently Professor and Section Head of Geriatric Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dunn will start at UAMS on February 1, 2022.

“We are delighted that Dr Dunn is joining UAMS as we continue to enhance our excellent clinical, research and educational programs in psychiatry,” said Susan Smyth, MD, Ph.D., Executive Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the College of Medicine. “In addition to his leadership experience in these mission areas, Dr. Dunn brings extensive clinical and research expertise in geriatric psychiatry and psycho-oncology. “

“We look forward to welcoming Dr Dunn to UAMS,” said Cam Patterson, MD, MBA, Chancellor of UAMS and CEO of UAMS Health. “Mental health is an important part of our mission to care for the health and well-being of the Arkansans. I know that Dr Dunn will be a tremendous asset to the Department of Psychiatry and the Institute for Psychiatric Research.

Dunn will also be invested as the Marie Wilson Howells Chair in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. The chair, the oldest and largest endowed chair at UAMS, was last held by G. Richard Smith, MD, who retired on June 1 after 40 years of leadership and service including as President of Psychiatry in 2001-2013 and 2018-2021 and as Executive Vice President. chancellor and dean of the Faculty of Medicine in 2013-2015.

Since Smith’s retirement, John Spollen, MD, has served as President and Interim Director.

“I am grateful to Dr. Spollen for his continued excellent service as Interim President since Dr. Smith’s retirement,” said Smyth.

Dunn has held a number of leadership roles at Stanford since being hired in 2015 as Director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Program and Director of the Stanford Health Care Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic. She became Section Head of Geriatric Psychiatry in 2017 and has also led numerous departmental initiatives in quality improvement, well-being and professional development.

From 2007 to 2015, she was Director of Psycho-Oncology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco, where she was invested in the Gloria Hubner Chair in Psycho-Oncology in 2013.

Dunn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics before obtaining a medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco. She completed a residency in psychiatry as well as a fellowship in geriatric psychiatry at the University of California at San Diego, where she was an assistant professor from 2002 to 2007.

Dunn has been a principal investigator and has played other roles in numerous NIH and foundation-funded studies in geriatric psychiatry, psycho-oncology, and empirical ethics. She has been active and held leadership positions in national professional organizations including the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry and the American College of Psychiatrists. She is certified in psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry.

Her husband, James E. Dunn, Esq., Is an accomplished litigator. They have two children – Leah, a freshman at New York University, and Tara, a high school student.



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