January 26, 2022

New Program Designed to Attract Psychiatry Residents to Arkansas


Prasad Padala, M.D.

A new program scheduled to launch this summer will help PRI address the shortage of mental health professionals in Arkansas.

A collaboration between the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Baptist Health, the new psychiatry residency program will start in July. To be headed by Prasad Padala, M.D., MS, FACHE, a research scientist with PRI’s Center for Health Services Research, the program has 16 residency slots with four in each year of training. The residency committee has been successful in recruiting six upperclassmen (4 PGY2s and 2 PGY3s) to start with the four PGY1s.

The UAMS Department of Psychiatry currently has 26 general psychiatry residents and five fellows in child and adolescent psychiatry, another in geriatric psychiatry and one more in addiction medicine.

The new class of residents will complete rotations at Baptist Health’s North Little Rock campus as well as Baptist Health campuses in Little Rock and Fort Smith and at the North Little Rock Community Mental Health Center. The residents will rotate through UAMS for child psychiatry and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System for electives. They will also attend the PRI grand rounds.


Holly Sherrill, M.D.

“There’s a shortage of psychiatrists in Arkansas and we expect this new program to make a difference,” said Padala, who will be joined by former UAMS resident Holly Sherrill, M.D., in overseeing the residency training. “We’re going to be looking for physicians who are comfortable with the latest technology and will be able to put it to use in the community.”

“We are very excited about the promise this program holds for the future of behavioral health training in Arkansas and, with the substantial growth in medical students choosing psychiatry, thrilled to have more psychiatry residency positions in the state of Arkansas,” said John Spollen, M.D., interim chair of the Department of Psychiatry.