Dr. William Smith has been appointed chief executive administrator for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) at Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) at the University of Utah, a newly created role.
“I am looking forward to joining HMHI’s incredible faculty and staff’s effort to stop stigma, bias, and discrimination across the university, the state of Utah, and beyond,” Smith said. "This appointment is a step toward consolidating the dedicated efforts of individuals to improve the mental and physical health of all people, and minoritized groups in particular. Mental health scholars and professionals have become aware of the tremendous weight that causes racial battle fatigue. I hope to bring more awareness to the systemic and institutional matters that cause these biopsychosocial strains.”
Smith, a professor in the Department of Education, Culture, and Society in the College of Education at UUtah, studies micro-aggressions experienced by Black faculty and students. He also coined the term “racial battle fatigue” to describe psychophysiological symptoms— such as frustration, anger, anxiety, and depression—experienced by people of color.
Smith holds an undergraduate and master’s degrees from Eastern Illinois University in psychology and a Ph.D. in educational policy and sociology/social psychology.