January 31, 2023


Robert C. Smith

Nationally and internationally recognized for his evidence-based teaching innovations in mental health care and the doctor-patient relationship, Robert C. Smith, MD has received the prestigious appointment of University Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at Michigan State University. After ten years in private medical practice, Dr. Smith undertook additional training in mental health and patient-centered medicine and has been in academics since 1985.

Dr. Smith developed the first evidence-based patient-centered method to guide teachers and their medical and nursing students and residents to master a physician’s single most important skill: the ability to communicate and form a strong partnership with the patient. In 1996 Little Brown invited him to write his first textbook: The Patient’s Story – Integrated Patient-Doctor Interviewing. McGraw-Hill eventually took on the book and published the third edition in 2012 with several additional authors and the new, eponymous title Smith’s Patient-Centered Interviewing: An Evidence-Based Method; the current 4th edition was published in 2018. The only evidence-based title on the topic, the book remains at the forefront for educating physicians and other clinicians in the US and abroad; it has been translated into several languages.

Based on the patient-centered method, Dr. Smith then developed the first evidence-based Mental Health Care Model (MHCM) to guide teachers and their students and residents to conduct mental health care. McGraw Hill asked Dr. Smith to author a textbook that described the method, and his group published Essentials of Psychiatry in Primary Care: Mental Health in the Medical Setting in 2019, endorsed by the prestigious American College of Physicians.

Among many awards, Dr. Smith has received the Master recognition from the American College of Physicians and the George Engel Award for Outstanding Research from the Academy on Communication in Healthcare. His many publications are highly cited, and he has obtained major grant support from, for example, the Fetzer Institute, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).