PHHP’s Glenn E. Smith, Ph.D., was recognized at the Celebrating Distinction ceremony held Oct. 26 to honor UF Health faculty members who have recently been named to an endowed professorship or chair, an honor reserved for scholars of national and international acclaim. The event recognized both the faculty members and the donors who have made these endowed professorships possible.
Smith, the chair of the department of clinical and health psychology and the Elizabeth H. Faulk Professor, joined UF from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. His research on dementia has focused on early diagnosis, outcomes, depression, behavioral issues and successful cognitive aging. He developed Healthy Action to Benefit Independence and Thinking, a 10-day, 50-hour intensive program for people with mild cognitive impairment. The program combines physical and mental exercise, memory compensation training and patient and caregiver education and support.
Studies by Smith and his team have shown the program helps people in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease maintain their functional independence. He has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1993 and is the recipient of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology’s highest honor, the Distinguished Neuropsychologist Award.
The Elizabeth H. Faulk professorship was established through a gift from Elizabeth Faulk, Ph.D. A 1955 alumna, she is believed to be the first woman to graduate with a doctoral degree in psychology from the University of Florida. Faulk was committed to providing psychological care to anyone who needed it, regardless of their ability to pay. In 1973, she established the Center for Group Counseling in Boca Raton, where she and a team of specially trained volunteers offered free or low-cost mental health counseling. The center has continued to expand, and in 2013 it was renamed the Faulk Center for Counseling to honor the legacy of Faulk, who passed away in 1995.