Joining Augusta Health in mid-February 2016, psychiatrist Diana Smith, MD, not only brings deep experience to her new position, but also plenty of enthusiasm.
“I’m genuinely excited to be working at Augusta Health,” she says. “The team here is excellent, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know this community better.”
A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Dr. Smith did her medical residency at the University of Virginia. After residency, she worked for the Veterans Health Administration in Staunton and Charlottesville and then with active duty service members and families as a contractor for the U.S. Army in Wiesbaden, Germany. Though it was an honor to work with the military, she was eager to move back to central Virginia. “I admit, I miss some of the German food,” she says with a laugh. “But while I was there, I missed some of the food here, so it all balances out. Mostly, I love the people here, and I wanted to do something new.”
Dr. Smith specializes in inpatient psychiatry, which involves the diagnosis and treatment of those who are admitted to the hospital
with psychiatric issues, or who need psychiatric care while in the hospital for other conditions. The specialty is distinctive, she says, because it involves moving a patient rapidly toward stabilization and finding resources that patients need to remain stable. “With this type of treatment, you are addressing issues that need to be handled in a very short amount of time, and that means patients who are in crisis,” she says. “Being able to see improvement, and help them through it, is very rewarding.”
Although she loves her work, Dr. Smith didn’t set out to be a psychiatrist when she entered medical school and set her sights on being a surgeon instead. However, during her psychiatry rotation in medical school at The Medical University of South Carolina she got hooked.
“I realized that I was spending more time in the hospital than any other rotation and I was beyond excited to go into work every day and see my patients. I knew psychiatry was for me.”
In addition to bringing knowledge of her field to Augusta Health, Dr. Smith notes that she’s also able to draw on her understanding of resources available in the central Virginia area. By helping patients navigate what’s available, she feels she can be even more helpful to them.
“I’m passionate about what I do every day,” she says. “This is exactly why I fell in love with psychiatry, because it allows me to feel like I’m making a difference in people’s lives.”
When she’s not at Augusta Health, Dr. Smith and her husband enjoy getting to know the area, spoiling their two dogs and spending time with their families. She says, “We’re pretty happy to all be in the same time zone now.” ￼
Diana Smith, MD, works at Augusta Health Crossroads. To make an appointment, call (540) 332-4060 (Staunton) or (540) 932-4060 (Waynesboro).