Associate Professor Aimee Smidt, MD, has been named chair of the Department of Dermatology in the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Smidt, a board-certified pediatric dermatologist, has been in the department for seven years and served as the department’s interim chair since early 2016.
“I’m honored to accept this new responsibility,” says Smidt. “I am absolutely committed to meeting the dermatologic needs of patients in New Mexico, promoting skin health in our community and training the future of dermatology providers in our state.”
Smidt takes the reins at a challenging time for the department, which earlier this year lost accreditation for its residency program due to difficulties in recruiting and retaining faculty. As interim chair, Smidt has strengthened educational efforts in dermatology and established Grand Rounds lectures to promote medical education and community involvement. She also has expanded clinical services by collaborating with other disciplines at the Health Sciences Center to provide an excellent patient experience.
Paul B. Roth, MD, MS, UNM’s chancellor for health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine, hailed Smidt’s appointment as a key step in rebuilding the residency program, noting that she has already recruited a new faculty member.
“This is a big step forward for us,” Roth said. “Dr. Smidt brings impressive credentials to this job, and I am confident she has the skills and vision we need to get the program back on track.”
Martha Cole McGrew, MD, the School of Medicine’s executive vice dean, praised Smidt’s skills as a clinician, noting that until recently she had served as chief of staff at UNM Hospital.
“Dr. Smidt is an outstanding dermatologist who has demonstrated real leadership abilities in addressing the challenges of faculty recruitment and rebuilding a residency program,” McGrew said. “She has an extraordinary vision for providing dermatology services, education and research for the people of New Mexico.”
Smidt, a New England native, attended Princeton University and earned her MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. She completed a pediatrics residency in the Baylor College of Medicine at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, followed by a dermatology residency and fellowship in pediatric dermatology at Northwestern University in Chicago. During her training, Smidt worked with the Indian Health Services in Shiprock, Kayenta and Whiteriver, AZ. Her husband was raised in Albuquerque, and the couple has two boys.
Smidt has served in numerous capacities while with the School of Medicine, including as UNM Hospitals Chief of Staff from 2014-2016. In 2015, she was recognized as a “Top Doc” in dermatology by Albuquerque The Magazine. And, last June, she was honored as one of “40 Under 40” by Albuquerque Business First, which recognizes up-and-coming local professionals and business people.
Smidt points to the support she has received from faculty, alumni and community members as one of her most important resources in taking the role of department chair. “I value so much the trust my peers, colleagues and former trainees have placed in me,” she says. “I’m honored to have such a strong community backing our endeavors.”