Dr. Amer Smajkic has a unique life story that begins in the country of Bosnia, where he grew up and graduated from medical school at the University of Sarajevo.
When the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina began, he was assigned to a vascular surgery residency program to serve his country. He treated people on the front line and in the hospital, while in constant risk of death by bullets, bombs, hunger or thirst. For months, he was saving lives by assisting in hundreds of surgical procedures, often by candlelight, with no electricity or water. During these experiences, he learned how satisfying it was to treat people with war injuries. He also learned that healing came not only from surgeries, but also from long conversations with patients at night, while they listened to explosions throughout the city. He lived in constant fear for his safety and finally left the country to save his own life.
He arrived in Chicago as a Refugee of War, survivor of Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide, sponsored by St. Luke’s Episcopalian Church in March 1994. For the first few months, he helped other refugees and their families establish themselves in Chicago. In June of 1994, he turned his outreach work into a profession by becoming the first mental health counselor in a newly formed Refugee Mental Health program for Bosnian s. In 1995, he established a professional academic relationship with the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Illinois at Chicago, with Drs. Stevan Weine and Ivan Pavkovic as mentors. Under their leadership, he participated in numerous research projects involving Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Dr. Smajkic received training in general psychiatry at University of Illinois at Chicago and Rush University Medical Center. He completed child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Rush University Medical Center.
Dr. Smajkic has done extensive research and published research papers with primary focus on the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorders. He has published a chapter in the book Mental Health Services of Juvenile Offenders with title “Suicide in Delinquent Adolescents”. Dr. Smajkic has become an expert in the areas of Refugee Mental Health, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depression, Juvenile Delinquency and Child and Adolescent Depression. Dr. Smajkic is member of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and he serves on Committee for Juvenile Justice Reform. Dr. Smajkic is also a member of American Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and Academy of Cognitive Therapy. His clinical work is focused on Child, Adolescent and Young Adult population. As a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr Smajkic is applying his knowledge and skills as a Psycho pharmacologist, Behaviorist and Cognitive Behavioral therapist. The focus of his care is Learning disorders, Developmental disorders, Mood disorders and Anxiety disorders.
At present time, Dr. Smajkic works as Attending Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Director of Child Psychiatry Consult Liaison services at Rush University Medical Center. He is providing inpatient care for child and adolescent population on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, consultation services to pediatric inpatient units and education for medical students, residents and fellows. At Rush University Medical Center Dr. Smajkic has also become a staff member of the Cognitive Behavior Center at Rush University Medical Center.
At River Edge hospital, Dr. Smajkic was hired as a part of team whose primary goal was to change and improve quality of services for Inpatient Child Adolescent and Adult patients of this hospital.
At that time, River Edge has had multiple compliance violations, incidents and organizational difficulties. Today River Edge Hospital has become psychiatric hospital with no compliance issues providing compassionate care to their patients. These improvements are the result of hard work of team of professionals. Dr. Smajkic was one of the leaders in this process of change.
Dr. Smajkic was appointed as the Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry services at Advocate Christ Hospital in 2009, where he provides administrative work, consultations and teaching for Pediatric Residents.
Dr. Smajkic’s unique experiences have helped him to create a career path that combines his family background, war, life and educational experience, personal talent and newest psychiatric knowledge. He has cultivated a profound natural commitment to practice as a child and adolescent as well as general psychiatrist, and is dedicated to serving community of mentally ill and those in need.