Renowned researcher William Smith, Ph.D., has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the Huntsman Institute for Mental Health – State of Reform

William Smith, Ph.D.Recognized nationally for his research on the stress of racial battles, he was appointed Executive Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) at Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) at the University of Utah.

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“Dr. Smith has been instrumental in deepening our country’s understanding of the impact of racism on mental health and will be an incredible asset to the work we do at HMHI,” Mark H. Rappaport, Managing Director, CEO in HMHI. We did a nationwide search for this position and decided we couldn’t find anyone more qualified than Dr. Smith. We are fortunate to have him in this leadership role as we develop JEDI’s corporate strategy.”

As the Chief Executive Officer of JEDI at HMHI, Smith will work to implement necessary program changes and policies related to JEDI into HMHI’s foundational work. Smith will play an active role in integrating JEDI principles and practices into many of HMHI’s strategic priorities, including programming and building Transformational Research Building and the Kim and Carolyn Gardner Center for Mental Health Crisis Care Along with HMHI’s National Anti-Stigma Campaign. Smith will chair the JEDI committee in the Department of Psychiatry and serve as the JEDI leader on all HMHI initiatives.

“I look forward to joining the efforts of the incredible faculty and staff at HMHI to stop stigma, prejudice and discrimination across the university, the state of Utah and beyond,” Smith says. “This appointment is a step towards furthering the dedicated efforts of individuals to improve the mental and physical health of all people, and minority groups in particular. Scientists and mental health professionals are becoming aware of the tremendous weight that causes racial battle stress. I hope to bring more awareness to the systemic and institutional issues that cause these Biopsychosocial strains”.

Source: University of Utah Health

Smith, a professor at Department of Education, Culture and Society, College of Educationis one of the University of UtahThe most influential scholars. He has written extensively about the petty assaults suffered by black faculty and students and coined the term “racial battle stress” in 2003. Smith developed the racial battle stress framework to describe the psychological symptoms—from frustration and anger to anxiety and depression—that people of color experience. . The term is now widely used throughout academia and the media to analyze, describe, and deepen understanding of the physical and mental health impact of racism.

“The entire College of Education community is excited about this new role for Dr. Smith and what it means for mental health services in Utah and the surrounding area,” says Nancy Butler-Songer, PhD, dean of the College of Education. “Smith’s experience and knowledge will be vital in developing and delivering equitable health services and addressing the mental and physical stresses of racial battle stress. Dr. Smith’s appointment demonstrates HMHI’s commitment to improving mental health equity and access.”

Smith’s work has been featured in many prestigious magazines such as International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Harvard Journal of EducationAnd the Educational Administration Quarterly, Journal of American Educational Research, Ethnicity and Education, among other things. Smith is in high demand for national and global presentations and interviews. He has given more than 100 keynote presentations and discussions over the past two years to government leaders, Fortune 500 companies, and campuses. In 2021, he received one of the University of Utah’s highest honors, the Distinguished Professor of Research Award, and was awarded the highest honor for black faculty and staff, the James McKeown Smith Honors Award.

Smith holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastern Illinois University in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Sociology/Social Psychology. His appointment as Chief Justice, Equity and Diversity began on July 1, 2022.

Smith’s newly created position is a unique collaboration between HMHI and the College of Education. As a university-wide institute, HMHI will develop more functions that create synergies across a wide range of colleges, academic departments, and programs at the university and its various efforts to transform mental health research, treatment, and training.

This press release was provided by the University of Utah Health.