AMT Member Profile

Kirk Smith, M.D., Ph.D. (2009)
Associate Professor (School of Medicine)
Internal Medicine (Endocrinology)

Dr. Kirk Smith is a founder and Executive Director of Frontera de Salud, and has supervised the program’s direction and expansion since its founding in 1998.  Smith completed doctoral studies at the UTMB Institute for the Medical Humanities in 1998 and graduated Alpha Omega Alpha with honors from the UTMB medical school in 2000.  He completed his residency in the Internal Medicine department at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., where, concurrent with his clinical duties, he held a position as a faculty associate at the Georgetown Center for Clinical Bioethics and was active in teaching and research.  He has published both in the United States and abroad, including a series on the medical humanities published in JAMA and articles (in translation) introducing the medical humanities to Chinese audiences.  In 2004, he received a Physician Advocacy Fellowship from the Open Society Institute in recognition of his efforts to improve health care access for the medically underserved in south Texas.

Frontera de Salud now includes chapters at three Texas academic healthcare centers sponsoring volunteer service projects across the state.  In 2005, Dr. Smith’s success in establishing sustained and effective community-based programs led to his appointment as Associate Director for Community Outreach for the Stark Diabetes Center, a state leader in outreach efforts focused on the prevention and control of diabetes.  Under his leadership, the Center is leading coalitions of local stake holders in establishing community-based programs throughout southeast and south Texas. In 2007, the diabetes prevention program was recognized as a model of community-based care by the Texas Diabetes Council and received one of ten Department of State Health Services Communities Diabetes Program grants.

Dr. Smith is responsible for supervising the professionalism component of the SOM curriculum.  He is collaborating with Dr. Ruth Berggren, faculty sponsor of the University of Texas Health Science Center - San Antonio Chapter of Frontera de Salud, to incorporate the Frontera service learning experience into the professionalism curricula of the two schools, an effort which recently earned a merit grant from the Office of the UT Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs.

For further information on Frontera de Salud, visit: www.utmb.edu/frontera.

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