Baptist Health-UAMS Psychiatry Residency Program Receives Initial Accreditation

The Baptist Health-UAMS Psychiatry Residency Program will initially train four residents and then will add four residency slots each year until there are 16 residents in training.

The joint arrangement will begin on Baptist Health’s North Little Rock campus in July 2022, combining the best of both programs. UAMS has the longest-running psychiatry residency program in the state that is known for its emphasis on research, while the Baptist Health program has focused on clinical and community care.

The combined faculty have many years of experience in private practice, rural practice, academics and administration.

“There is an enormous need for mental health professionals in general and psychiatrists in particular today,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., UAMS chancellor and CEO of UAMS Health. “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the new wave of challenges will be the toll of mental health suffering and distress. We are committed to training psychiatry residents ready to tackle these clinical needs and challenges. We also hope to retain psychiatrists in Arkansas after they have completed their residency.”

“Now more than ever, we need more professionals in behavioral health care,” said Troy Wells, president and CEO of Baptist Health, the largest private not-for-profit health care system based in Arkansas. “We are so grateful to have the opportunity to do this through our North Little Rock residency program. We are also grateful for the expanding partnership with UAMS and the spirit of teamwork that allows us to combine our strengths and better serve Arkansans.”

Through an individualized approach to clinical training, the program aims to ensure the highest level of exposure to all aspects of psychiatry. The residency is committed to ensuring that psychiatrists develop their skills in both psychotherapy and psychopharmacology, as well as ensuring that residents contribute to the community.

“The program will have a major positive impact on mental health care in Arkansas in the decades ahead,” said Susan Smyth, M.D., Ph.D., UAMS executive vice chancellor and dean of the College of Medicine. “The addition of this ACGME-accredited training program, made possible through our partnership with Baptist Health, is an important extension of UAMS’ mission and health care education leadership role in our state.”

Erick L. Messias, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and associate dean for Faculty Affairs in UAMS’ College of Medicine and a professor of epidemiology at UAMS’ College of Public Health, is the program director for the Baptist Health-UAMS psychiatric residency program. It joins already-established joint residency programs in family medicine and internal medicine, as well as a transitional year program, under the Baptist Health-UAMS Graduate Medical Education Initiative. Transitional year programs are intern programs that provide global training before residency training.

While most of the rotations will take place at Baptist Health’s North Little Rock campus, others will be done on the UAMS campus, at Baptist Health campuses in Little Rock and Fort Smith, and at the North Little Rock Community Mental Health Center.

Accreditation ensures that graduate medical programs across the United States meet common quality standards. The process includes written documentation and site visits by a review team consisting of volunteers from the specialty. The initial accreditation for the joint program will be reviewed in 2023.

About Baptist Health

For 100 years, Baptist Health has delivered All Our Best in health care through Christian compassion and innovative services. Baptist Health is Arkansas’ most comprehensive health care organization with more than 250 points of access that include 11 hospitals; urgent care centers; a senior living community; over 100 primary and specialty care clinics; a college with studies in nursing and allied health; a graduate residency program; and access to virtual care anytime, anywhere. It is also the largest private not-for-profit health care organization based in Arkansas, providing care through the support of approximately 11,000 employees, groundbreaking treatments, renowned physicians and community outreach programs. For more information about Baptist Health, visit, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or download the myBaptistHealth app. Find us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

About UAMS

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven 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 and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state’s Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — COPD, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and four dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on FacebookTwitterYouTube or Instagram.