Dr. Clinton ‘Colt’ Smithson: Texas College of Emergency Physicians Award

By Connie Piloto

When Dr. Colt Smithson was a young boy, he told his mother he wanted to be a doctor. Naturally, Dede Smithson encouraged his dream. It didn’t matter that no one in their family had ever completed college, much less medical school.

“She motivated me and was always there,” Dr. Smithson said of his mother. “I grew up with the glass is always half-full mentality . . . always trying to be a little bit better every day.”

Dr. Clinton ‘Colt’ Smithson
Dr. Clinton ‘Colt’ Smithson

Dr. Smithson’s hard work and determination have paid off. He is the 2014 recipient of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians Award. The award is given to a medical student who demonstrates excellence in emergency medicine, with special dedication to Texans who need emergency care.

“Colt Smithson was raised in Texas and has a genuine love for the state and its people. It would only be natural for him to pursue his career in emergency medicine in the non-urban settings and bring his great education and training to the populations who need excellent emergency care the most,” said Dr. Jeffrey Van Dermark, Director of Undergraduate Medical Education in the Department of Emergency Medicine. “The award is the perfect fit for Colt, as it is a great reflection of the unassuming and humble way in which he mastered the requisite skills to be a fantastic Emergency Medicine resident in Texas.”

Dr. Smithson grew up in Terrell, loving the outdoors and athletics. At Terrell High School, he was a member of the football team and also played soccer.

He considered a career in the military, but instead opted to attend Texas A&M University-Commerce. He earned a full academic scholarship and ran a landscaping business on the side to pay for college. At A&M-Commerce, Dr. Smithson majored in biology and participated in the Joint Admission Medical Program, a special initiative created by the Texas legislature to support and encourage highly qualified, economically disadvantaged students pursuing a medical education.

He also earned a spot on the track team and competed in the javelin. “I was not very good at the javelin,” Dr. Smithson said. “But, I met my wife while competing. So overall I did very well.”

At UT Southwestern, Dr. Smithson participated in the annual United to Serve health fair at T.J. Rusk Middle School, was involved in clinical outcome research, and concentrated on his studies.

“Initially, I wondered how I would do in medical school, especially because I didn’t come from one of the bigger schools,” Dr. Smithson said. “All my peers are crazy intelligent. I did fairly well. I’m not at the top of the class, but I’m right in the middle.” 

Dr. Smithson enjoyed the third year rotations in family medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. Then, he did a night shift in the emergency department.

“I had the time of my life,” Dr. Smithson said. “After I drove home early that morning I remember calling friends to let them know I would be going into emergency medicine. It was nice to finally find my niche in medicine.”

Dr. Smithson and his wife, Keri, an accountant, recently purchased a home in Temple. He begins an emergency medicine residency at Scott & White Temple Hospital in the summer. 

“I enjoy helping patients in stressful situations,” Dr. Smithson said. “I get to help them at a time that could possibly be one of the most difficult times of their lives.”

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