Health Center Now Offers Psychiatric Care for Faculty and Staff

Access to mental health services continues to be a key priority for Pat Walker Health Center. While increasing access to key services is critical to the success of students, it begs the question, what about faculty and staff?

Psychiatric care in Northwest Arkansas continues to be in high-demand. However, the number of area psychiatrists fail to meet these demands, leading to increased wait times for new patients. Factoring in the few psychiatrists willing to accept the university-sponsored health insurance plan, faculty and staff could see wait times as long as years before they are seen.

Fortunately, University of Arkansas faculty and staff have seen their access to psychiatric care improved thanks to the health center's hire of Dr. Keith Berner.

"Dr. Huda Sharaf, medical director, is the true champion behind this beneficial service for our faculty and staff. She identified a serious need that impacts the health of many people in our university community," said Mary Alice Serafini, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs and executive director. "After working with the UA benefits team, we reached out and found Dr. Berner."

Berner, who was hired on at the beginning of the fall semester, offers his services on Thursday's, in addition to working in private practice within the community. A graduate of UAMS, he is grateful for this opportunity to offer much needed support for the campus.

The hire is a longed-for addition to the health center's Primary Care Clinic, offering faculty and staff the opportunity to receive mental health services covered under the UMR insurance plan. As an additional perk, faculty and staff can save on health care costs with the additional SmartCare discounts received at the health center.

"Faculty and staff mental health care is a key priority and should be accessible to all," said Serafini. "Pat Walker Health Center desires to offer timely access and is fortunate to have adequate space in a confidential environment."

Faculty and staff can schedule psychiatric appointments with Dr. Berner by calling the health center at 479-575-4451.

Additional Health Services Available for Faculty and Staff

While often seen as a student health center, Pat Walker Health Center wants to reassure faculty and staff that the medical clinics are a 'campus' clinic. Faculty and Staff are encouraged to leverage the available medical services, especially given the health center is a SmartCare facility.

For more information about medical services available for faculty and staff, see the health center's website or call 479-575-4451. Faculty and staff can also schedule appointments (other than psychiatry appointments) on the health center's Patient Portal at

 About Pat Walker Health Center: Pat Walker Health Center supports students along their academic journey by providing efficient and convenient access to quality medical care, mental health care, and wellness and health promotion programs and services. The health center strives to enrich the academic and personal development of students by creating an inclusive environment that promotes positive behavior and lifestyle changes. Pat Walker Health Center is a department of the Division of Student Affairs.

About the Division of Student Affairs: The Division of Student Affairs supports students in pursuing knowledge, earning a degree, finding meaningful careers, exploring diversity, and connecting with the global community. We provide students housing, dining, health care resources, and create innovative programs that educate and inspire. We enhance the University of Arkansas experience and help students succeed, one student at a time.


Zac Garrett Brown, assistant director of communications
Pat Walker Health Center


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