Stephen E Buie, MD '81

2014 Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award recipient

Stephen Buie

An outstanding psychiatrist and exemplary teacher, Dr. Stephen E. Buie has pioneered and nurtured innovative mental health services in his community and has worked tirelessly to improve access to care for the indigent. Among his colleagues, he is known for dedication, compassion, wise leadership and vision.

Dr. Buie was a Morehead Scholar as an undergraduate at UNC, where he also received his medical degree. He received his residency training in internal medicine at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital of Columbia University and in psychiatry at New York Hospital – Westchester Division of Cornell University Medical Center.

Dr. Buie joined Highland Hospital in Asheville in 1987 as a staff psychiatrist and started the hospital’s personality disorder treatment program. He was named Highland’s medical director in 1992. Two years later, Dr. Buie founded the Pisgah Institute for Psychotherapy and Education, a private practice in Asheville in which he remains the managing shareholder. He joined the medical staff of Mission St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1994 and served as the hospital’s service line leader for psychiatry in 1999-2000.

Dr. Buie has been an adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry at UNC since 2009 and is the course director for the third-year psychiatry clerkship at the UNC School of Medicine’s Asheville Campus. He also teaches family medicine residents in his role as consulting psychiatrist at the Family Health Center of the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC).

“Working with Dr. Buie as a teacher of medical students and residents, I have been very impressed with the clinical knowledge and wisdom he offers them,” says Sarah Wells Slechta, MD, a psychiatrist at the Pisgah Institute and a UNC School of Medicine alumna. “He is a wonderful mentor. For me as a young physician and for countless others, he is someone who is always willing to lend an ear and give valuable advice.”

Jeffery E. Heck, MD, president and CEO of MAHEC, cites Dr. Buie’s “outstanding” work in teaching and curriculum development. “He has successfully recruited psychiatrists from private practice and spent the time to develop them as skilled educators. Psychiatry consistently receives the highest evaluations of the core specialties by students.”

J. Paul Martin, MD, chief medical officer of Crescent Health Solutions in Asheville, says of Dr. Buie: “By modeling dedication to improving the community through collaboration, innovation and volunteerism, he is establishing a legacy that will be continued by the learners as they enter their professional careers.”

In 2010, Dr. Buie became the first psychiatrist to use telemedicine technology to treat patients in a rural primary care setting – Bakersville Medical Clinic – in western North Carolina.

“He also took responsibility for providing psychiatric leadership and direct care when the local mental health crisis stabilization unit unexpectedly lost psychiatric services and the program was in jeopardy of collapsing,” says Louis Stein, MD, a child psychiatrist in Asheville. “Dr. Buie has been a creative and enthusiastic partner in the development of innovative service delivery models to improve psychiatric care in western North Carolina.”

Other positions he has held include serving as medical director of the Women’s Behavioral Health Program at Park Ridge Hospital from 2000 to 2004; consultant to the Quadrant 4 Project, which provides care management to uninsured, indigent patients with severe medical and psychiatric illnesses; board member of Buncombe County Health Partners, a group of “safety net” providers who came together to coordinate care for the indigent; and medical director of Project Access, a physician volunteer initiative providing access to comprehensive medical care for uninsured Buncombe County residents, in 2011.

Improving access to quality care for low income patients has been a primary focus of Dr. Buie’s volunteer endeavors for many years. He was a founding board member and later board chairman of the non-profit All Souls Counseling Center, which provides sliding scale/low cost mental health services. Highly regarded by his colleagues around the state, Dr. Buie was elected president of the North Carolina Psychiatric Association in 2009.

In recognition of what Dr. Martin of Crescent Health Solutions describes as Dr. Buie’s “untiring commitment to patients, colleagues, the medical and psychiatric professions and the community,” as well as his enormous influence as a teacher and mentor, we are proud to present the Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award to Dr. Stephen E. Buie.