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Robert C. Smith M.D.


Robert C. Smith, M.D. is a general internist and a University Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at Michigan State University. He also is a Master of the American College of Physicians. His teaching and research focus on patient-centered communication and primary care mental health. He has been featured on The Today Show as well as interviewed in Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Elle, Ladies Home Journal, Time, and Newsweek on training doctors to establish better doctor-patient relationships, chronic pain, and mental health problems in medical settings.

He is also the author of a bestselling interviewing textbook, Smith’s Patient-Centered Interviewing: An Evidence-Based Method (McGraw-Hill)—the 4th edition was published in August 2018. A second textbook—Essentials of Psychiatry in Primary Care: Behavioral Health in the Medical Setting (McGraw-Hill) was published in May 2019.

His next book, Has Medicine Lost Its Mind?—How to Improve Mental Health Care will show patients and society how primary health care can more effectively identify and treat mental health problems. It is currently in preparation.

In this blog, I’ll explore how mental health care in the U.S. lags far behind medical care and how the failure to train physicians in mental health care worsens or creates many of the problems we hear about on a daily basis, including the opioid epidemic, suicide, and our failures in managing chronic pain and depression. We’ll also address some of the broader societal issues such as the shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, the tremendous financial cost from deficient mental health care, and how we will need to proceed as a society to improve mental health care.

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