Dr. Kathy Smith Receives APA Roeske Teaching Award

July 25, 2022

Kathy W. Smith, MD, professor of psychiatry and associate dean of graduate medical education at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, received the Roeske Teaching Award from the American Psychiatric Association. The award was established in 1990 to honor child and adolescent psychiatrist Nancy C.A. Roeske, MD, and is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding and sustaining contributions to medical student education.

Kathy W. Smith, MD

Kathy W. Smith, MD

“It is an absolute honor to receive this award in the name of Dr. Roeske,” Dr. Smith said. “Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. Roeske had a robust academic career as a psychiatrist who cared for children with mental illnesses and people with disabilities, and as an educator who served in many director roles in medical education. I think her greatest legacy was her understanding of the importance to integrate principles of humanism and holistic care and medical science in both medical education and patient care.”

Dr. Smith was nominated for the award by College of Medicine – Tucson Department of Psychiatry chair Jordan Karp, MD. “Dr. Smith embodies the spirit of the Roeske Teaching Award,” Dr. Karp said. “She has served in many roles that support medical student education throughout her career including mentoring, coaching, teaching, supervising, leadership and scholarship.”

“I have always been passionate about teaching,” Dr. Smith said. “My teaching philosophy is informed from my experience as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and as a medical educator. Teaching early medical students in the classroom, and later medical students and residents in the clinic, is vastly different, so being attuned to the developmental stage of my learner and the context in which they are learning is crucial. But more importantly, I hope to inspire a love for the learning process itself. As self-directed learning is fundamental to the practice of medicine, I consider this one of the most important things I can do as an educator.”

Dr. Smith completed her medical education at the College of Medicine – Tucson in 2001. She also completed her residency and fellowship training at the College of Medicine – Tucson before joining the faculty.

“I have had mentors, sponsors, advisors, cheerleaders and those willing to speak hard truths to help guide and encourage me in my academic career,” said Dr. Smith. “Like most important endeavors, it takes a village, and I am proud to have learned from my teachers and mentors here at the College of Medicine – Tucson and privileged to continue to give back to my community.”

In addition to receiving the Roeske Teaching Award, Dr. Smith was recently promoted from associate professor to professor.

“Dr. Smith has been intentional about creating a career that prioritizes the education and mentorship of medical students, residents, and faculty across the undergraduate and graduate medical education continuum,” Dr. Karp said. “She also has consistently provided clinical care that is highly specialized and focused on vulnerable populations in Arizona whose care is otherwise limited by the challenges with access to evidence-based care. In my opinion, Dr. Smith represents the best in academic medicine.”