The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has selected Laura B. Dunn, M.D., as the next chair of the Department of Psychiatry in the UAMS College of Medicine, and director of the Psychiatric Research Institute. Dunn is currently a professor and section chief for Geriatric Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, and will start at UAMS on Feb. 1, 2022.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Dunn join UAMS as we continue to enhance our excellent clinical, research and education programs in psychiatry,” said Dr. Susan Smyth, executive vice chancellor and dean of the College of Medicine. “In addition to her leadership experience across these mission areas, Dr. Dunn brings extensive clinical and research expertise in geriatric psychiatry and psycho-oncology.”
Dunn also will 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, M.D., who retired June 1 after 40 years of leadership and service. John Spollen, M.D., has served as interim chair and director since Smith’s retirement.
“I am grateful to Dr. Spollen for his excellent and ongoing service as interim chair since Dr. Smith’s retirement,” said Smyth.
Dunn has held numerous leadership roles at Stanford since her recruitment in 2015 as director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Training Program and director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic at Stanford Health Care. She became Geriatric Psychiatry Section Chief in 2017, and has also led numerous departmental initiatives in quality improvement, wellness, and professional development.
From 2007 to 2015, she served as director of Psycho-Oncology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was invested in the Gloria Hubner Endowed Chair in Psycho-Oncology in 2013.
Dunn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a bachelor of arts in linguistics before earning a medical degree at the University of California, San Francisco. She completed a psychiatry residency as well as a fellowship in geriatric psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, where she went on to serve as an assistant professor from 2002 to 2007.
“We look forward to welcoming Dr. Dunn to UAMS,” said Dr. Cam Patterson, UAMS chancellor and CEO of UAMS Health. “Mental health is an important part of our mission of caring for the health and well-being of Arkansans. I know that Dr. Dunn is going to be tremendous asset to both the Department of Psychiatry and the Psychiatric Research Institute.”
Dunn has served as principal investigator and in other roles on numerous NIH- and foundation-funded studies in geriatric psychiatry, psycho-oncology and empirical ethics. She has been active and has held leadership positions in national professional organizations including the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry and the American College of Psychiatrists. She is board certified in psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry.