50 Years of People, Progress and Promise
In its 50-year history, the Department of Psychiatry within the UAMS College of Medicine has had three chairmen. William Reese, M.D., held the title from 1951-1985; Frederick Guggenheim, M.D., chaired from 1985-2000; and in 2001, UAMS College of Medicine alum G. Richard Smith, M.D., was appointed to lead the department.
In February 1951, Dr. Reese, previously an instructor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, became the head of the Department of Neuropsychiatry at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine. Six months later, the fields of Neurology and Psychiatry were divided, and the first psychiatry training program was offered at the university. The department assembled a founding faculty that would become a veritable hall of fame, including Fred Henker, M.D., Richard Sundermann, M.D., John Howard, M.D., John Peters, M.D., Roscoe Dykman, M.D., and Robert Shannon, M.D. With an initial annual budget of $30,000, the finest psychiatrists in the state laid the foundation for what has since become one of the major psychiatric research and training centers in the region.
These doctors helped set some important milestones in the development of psychiatric education, research and clinical care at University Hospital and the School of Medicine.
In 1953, the Mental Hygiene Clinic became the Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic, initially directed by Dr. Howard. Today, this program has been developed into the Adult Psychiatry Clinic, directed by C. Winston Brown, M.D.
In 1954, Dr. Peters became director of the Child Psychiatry program.
In 1955, Dr. Dykman received the first National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant in Arkansas to establish a research program in psychology and psychiatry.
In 1958, psychiatric residencies at the college were implemented. Dr. Shannon was the first resident to complete the program three years later.
In 1958, the department opened an inpatient unit for adult psychiatric patients on the seventh floor of University Hospital.
In the early 1960s, Reese, Dykman, Peters and others were key investigators in developing a biological model of mental illness using methodology based on the Pavlovian dog theories.
In 1963, Shannon became the first director of the Adolescent Psychiatry program.
In 1968, construction of the Child Study Center began. Today, it is located at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and directed by Bruce Cohen, M.S.
In 1969, Dr. Henker established the Psychosomatic Clinic; construction was completed at the Child Study Center.
Since that time, the major research thrust has been in the area of learning disabilities. Psychiatrists in the department developed the concept of minimal brain dysfunction, which was later re-named Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
In 1979, the department received a gift that would help define its future and shape its destiny. Marie Wilson Howells, a Mississippi County native Arkansan, made the largest single private donation at that time to the university. Her three-million-dollar bequest was placed in a trust fund. Her gift, facilitated and managed by Little Rock investor Richard Butler, Sr., subsequently grew to become an eight-million-dollar endowment. Today, it is the largest fund of its kind on campus. On May 4, 1982, Reese was formally installed as the first Marie Wilson Howells professor and chairman in the department, a title held by subsequent department chairs.
In 1985, Reese stepped down as chairman after 35 years, and the university recruited his successor, Dr. Guggenheim. During his 15-year tenure, he recruited more than 100 physicians and scientists that helped develop a regionally prominent psychiatric program.
Throughout Guggenheim’s leadership, clinical teaching at the nearby VA Hospital was unsurpassed, programs at the Arkansas State Hospital were dramatically improved, and the department grew to its present size of more than 400 faculty and staff.
In 2001, Dr. Smith, a member of the UAMS College of Medicine faculty for 20 years, became the third chairman in the department’s 50-year history. Smith oversees all departmental divisions, including the Center for Mental Healthcare Research, the Arkansas Division of Mental Health Services at the Arkansas State Hospital, University Hospital, VA Hospital and Pediatric Psychiatry Division. Brenda Booth, M.D., Larry Miller, M.D., Dr. Brown, Jeffrey Clothier, M.D., and Andre Derdeyn, M.D., lead each division, respectively.
Within each division are very successful clinical programs. One such program is the Arkansas Center for Addictions, Research, Education and Services (AR CARES), a treatment facility for mothers affected by substance abuse and their children. Cindy Crone, M.N.Sc., A.P.N., C.P.N.P., executive director of AR CARES, pioneered the program.
The Student Mental Health Services program, directed by Linda Worley, M.D., offers free confidential counseling to UAMS students and their spouses.
The Employee Assistance Program, directed by Jim Pfeifer, L.P.C., C.E.A.P., S.A.P., offers short-term mental health counseling to UAMS employees.