June 20, 2017


Dr. Robert Smith collage

This website is dedicated to those who would like to know more about their (and their family’s) mental health care. Many prominent groups, such as Healthy People 2020, are concerned that is substandard and needs considerable improvement. To improve mental health care will require an informed public and much re-orientation of thinking. I’ll address these issues from both the individual and the broad societal perspective. I am writing a new book called, “Has Medicine Lost Its Mind”. The book will review the mental health crisis, why it occurred, and what the public can do about it.

Robert C. Smith, MD, MACP is University Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry Emeritus at Michigan State University. With many publications, awards, and grants, he has been involved in teaching and research in patient-centered communication and in primary care mental health since 1985. Dr. Smith has been featured on The Today Show as well as interviewed and quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Elle, the Ladies Home Journal, Time, and Newsweek. The topics have included training doctors to establish better doctor-patient relationships, chronic pain, unexplained physical symptoms, and mental health problems in medical settings.

Dr. Smith and his colleagues defined the patient-centered interview in behavioral terms to create a repeatable model that can by systematically taught and studied. Later, they showed it was evidence-based in randomized controlled trials.  Dr. Smith and colleagues have written a popular interviewing textbook, Smith’s Patient-Centered Interviewing: An Evidence-Based Method (4th edition, McGraw Hill, 2018).  Endorsed by the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare, the text has been translated into several other languages and is used widely in medical and nursing schools in the USA and abroad for teaching interviewing and the doctor-patient relationship.

Dr. Smith’s group also formulated the first behaviorally-defined method to guide medical clinicians in managing mental health and substance use problems. They subsequently demonstrated that the method was evidence-based in two clinical trials and later demonstrated that they could train primary care faculty in the method and that, in turn, the newly trained faculty could successfully teach it to medical residents. A second textbook, Essentials of Psychiatry in Primary Care:  Behavioral Health in the Medical Setting from McGraw-Hill, stemmed from this research and was published in 2019 by Dr. Smith and his colleagues. Endorsed by the American College of Physicians, this new textbook is used in medical and nursing schools for teaching primary care psychiatry.