The Christoper D. Smithers Foundation, Inc. | Smithers Center Transferred to Columbia University
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Smithers Center Transferred to Columbia University

Smithers Center Transferred to Columbia University

The dedication and reception of The Smithers Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse at Columbia University Medical Center was held on March 22, 2016.  The opening was hosted by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D., Chair of Psychiatry at CUMC, with special guest speaker, The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the nation’s leading political voice on mental illness, addiction and other behavioral brain diseases.    


The Smithers Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse at CUMC offers an option in midtown Manhattan for world class medical treatment for alcohol and other substance use disorders with co-occurring psychiatric disorders.  The treatment program provides state of the art and compassionate care in the context of ColumbiaDoctors’ premiere psychiatric services at 51 West 51 Street.  The new program builds on addiction research at the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center  (CUMC), and offers integrated specialized services including psychopharmacology, medical management, rehabilitation and psychotherapy services.  The gift from the Smithers family of $7.1 million provides endowed support for clinical care, education and research in alcohol and substance abuse treatment.  


“The Smithers Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse is dedicated to improving the lives of patients struggling with addiction,”  said Christopher Smithers, President of The Christopher D. Smithers Foundation.  “We have tremendous confidence in research and Columbia Psychiatry’s expertise in the field.  Our hope is that this partnership will not only transform the lives of patients, but will also enhance care for individuals with substance abuse disorders who may or may not have co-occurring psychiatric disorders.”


“Since for many people, substance abuse begins with symptoms of a mental disorder for which they self-medicate with alcohol, recreational or prescription drugs, a unique feature of this new program is the integration of expertise to treat mental illness and addiction, as well as provide general medical management,”  added Dr. Lieberman.  “The fact that this program is situated at ColumbiaDoctors, and co-located with other medical specialties serves to remove the stigma associated with drug abuse clinics as well as provide ancillary medical services.”

Columbia Psychiatry, considered a leader in addiction research and treatment, is consistently ranked in the top tier of drug and alcohol programs in the US by US News and World Report’s issue on medical schools.  The Smithers gift will expand current programs and help to start innovative projects that will generate further insights on addiction and propel the field forward to met the needs of families burdened by substance abuse.

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