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Kenton Smitherman, MD

Health Sciences Clinical Professor
Associate Vice Chief of Clinical Operations
(La Jolla)

Contact Information


Academic Profile

Dr. Kent Smitherman earned his MD degree at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Following active service in the U.S. Navy as an emergency department general medical officer and a flight surgeon, he completed a residency in internal medicine and fellowships in infectious diseases and critical care medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He continued service as a reserve medical officer with the U.S. Navy Reserve and the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve during and after his residency and fellowships. Dr. Smitherman worked as a hospitalist in private practice for three years before joining the new UCSD Hospital Medicine Program at Thornton Hospital in 2001.

He completed, in 2009, the mini-Advanced Training Program in quality improvement through the Institute for Health Care Delivery Research of Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dr. Smitherman is a member of UC San Diego's Antibiotic Stewardship Committee, and he is on the Board of Directors of the UC San Diego Medical Center Dietetic Internship. Within the Division, he is Associate Vice Chief of Clinical Operations (La Jolla). He was recently a member, Vice Chair, and then Chair of the UC San Diego School of Medicine Electives Committee, and he was on the School of Medicine's Committee on Educational Policy as well.

Representative Publications

Chitlur AH, Smitherman KO: An uncommon cause of a common symptom (abdominal pain). Poster displayed at the Society of General Internal Medicine California-Hawaii Regional Meeting, January 19, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.

Luo CC, Horman SF, Smitherman KO: More than a puff of smoke: moyamoya syndrome in sickle cell disease. Poster displayed at the American College of Physicians Southern California Regions I, II and III Annual Meeting Resident/Fellow, Medical Student and Early Career Physician Poster Competition, October 22, 2016, in San Diego, California.

Smitherman, KO: Antimicrobial stewardship – how to engage hospitalists and housestaff. Oral presentation on October 11 at IDWeek 2015 (combined meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, HIV Medicine Association, and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society), October 11, 2015, in San Diego, California.

Eastman BM, Smitherman KO: Altered mental status in an immunocompromised patient. Poster displayed at the American College of Physicians Southern California – Region III and Navy Chapters Resident/Fellow and Medical Student Poster Competition, October 10, 2015, in San Diego, California.

Smitherman KO, Clay BJ, Martin-Armstrong LM: Causes of short-term readmissions at an academic medical center. Oral presentation on April 24 at the Society of General Internal Medicine 37th Annual Meeting, April 23-26, 2014, in San Diego, California.

Smitherman KO, Ritter ML: Coccidioidomycosis mimicking pelvic sarcoma. Poster (selected as Finalist in the Vignettes category of the poster competition) displayed on March 26 at the Society of Hospital Medicine Annual Meeting, March 24-27, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Awards and Honors

In 2009, 2012, 2013, 2018, and 2019, named one of San Diego's "Top Doctors" (physicians of exceptional excellence as chosen by their peers) in the October issues of San Diego Magazine

UC San Diego Medical Center Performance Improvement and Patient Safety Committee's January 2012 Great Catch Award (for identification of an irregularity in the inpatient electronic medical record program)

UC San Diego School of Medicine Excellence in Teaching Award for Academic Year 2010 – 2011, a Medicine 401 service award presented by the third-year medical students for valuable contribution to the professional development of future physicians

I am proud to be a part of UC San Diego Health Hospital Medicine because we are tasked with caring for the widest variety of patients and medical conditions.