UAMS Mourns Loss of Dean of the College of Medicine, Susan Smyth, MD, PhD

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is sad to announce that Susan Smyth, MD, PhD, executive vice chancellor and dean of the College of Medicine died December 31, 2022, after a battle with cancer. Smyth is survived by her husband Andrew and their sons, Edward and William.

“Susan was a remarkable leader, colleague and friend who will be deeply missed by many across our state, especially those of us fortunate enough to work with her,” wrote Chancellor Cam Patterson, MD, MBA.  “Her death is a great loss for UAMS, our state, and all who knew her.”

Joining UAMS in 2021, Smyth, a nationally respected cardiologist and translational researcher, specialized in arterial and venous thrombosis, authoring more than 200 publications and a dozen textbooks.  Patterson said Smyth was a “fantastic scientist” and “incredible leader” whose research helped advance the understanding of heart disease and identified new therapies to treat people suffering from it. Patterson also credited Smyth as a trailblazer for women in academic medicine who became president of the Association of University Cardiologists.

This past November, Smyth was invested at UAMS in the Arkansas Medical Society Distinguished Dean’s Chair, an endowment that is among the highest academic honors a university can bestow on a faculty member.  The chair was established in 2017 by the College of Medicine and the Arkansas Medical Society for the college’s most important leadership post. In addition to her investiture during the ceremony, her husband Andrew Morris, PhD, professor in the UAMS Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, also was invested in the Mehta Stebbins Chair in Cardiovascular Research.

During her tenure at UAMS, Smyth launched and expanded numerous initiatives to improve health in Arkansas while also increasing the College of Medicine’s national standings in primary care and other aspects of education, research, and clinical care. She made the pursuit of health equity, diversity, and inclusion a top priority for the college. Smyth also helped guide the state through the covid-19 pandemic and wanted to improve health outcomes in rural and underserved communities.

“She will be remembered not just today, not just a year from now. She will be remembered 50 years from now,” said Patterson. UAMS has appointed G. Richard Smith, MD, former dean of the College of Medicine and founding director of the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute, to serve as interim dean.

Representing AMS at the Investiture included (back L to R): AMS EVP David Wroten, Dr. James Hunt, Dr. Omar Atiq, Dr. Amy Cahill, Dr. Lee Archer, Dr. Danny Wilkerson, Dr. Seth Barnes, and Dr. Gina Drobena. Dr. Smyth, seated, is flanked by Stephanie Gardner and Dr. Cam Patterson from UAMS.