John Spollen, M.D., professor and vice chair for education in the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine, has been appointed interim chair of the department effective June 1, when current chair G. Richard Smith, M.D., retires.
“As an outstanding clinician and award-winning educational leader, Dr. Spollen will ensure the continued success of psychiatric care, education and research at UAMS during the search for the next Chair and Director of the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute (PRI),” Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean Christopher T. Westfall, M.D., said in an April 12 announcement to faculty.
Spollen received his medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He completed his residency in psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina and joined the UAMS faculty in 1999. He has held the rank of professor since 2014.
Among many educational roles in the Department of Psychiatry, Spollen has served as junior clerkship director and, since 2004, as vice chair for education. He has been clinical co-director of the M1 Brain and Behavior Module since 2015. Spollen has served on the College of Medicine Curriculum Committee since 2002 and has held a number of leadership roles, including co-chair of the Evaluation and Quality Improvement Subcommittee.
Spollen has received many honors for his work in education, including the Educational Innovation Award, multiple Educational Research awards, and the Master Teacher Award from the College of Medicine, and the 2019 UAMS Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Students have recognized his teaching with Red Sash and Gold Sash awards.
Spollen practices at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS), where he has held several clinical and administrative roles including his current posts as director of the Psychiatric Consultation-Liaison Service and the Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and Ketamine Program for treatment-resistant depression. He is board-certified in general psychiatry, consultation liaison psychiatry and addiction medicine.
Active in several national psychiatry education organizations, Spollen is a past president of the Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry and currently serves on the American Psychiatric Association’s Council on Medical Education. He has published and presented nationally and internationally on educational topics including assessment of professionalism and recruiting medical students into psychiatry.
“I thank Dr. Spollen for agreeing to serve in this important leadership role for our institution and those we serve,” Westfall said. “I also want to take this opportunity once again to thank Dr. Smith for his 40 years of outstanding service to our college, UAMS and our state, and to wish him all the best in his upcoming retirement.”