SARRC Announces Leadership Transitions in Two Prominent Roles

SARRC recently announced the promotions of Drs. Amy Kenzer and Christopher J. Smith to Chief Operating Officer and Chief Science Officer, respectively.

SARRC recently announced the promotions of Drs. Amy Kenzer and Christopher J. Smith to Chief Operating Officer and Chief Science Officer, respectively—transitions that will support SARRC's Strategic Plan of becoming a statewide organization that puts effective services within reach of every Arizonan by 2030.

Amy Kenzer, Ph.D., BCBA-D, will become SARRC’s first Chief Operating Officer (COO), overseeing operations throughout the organization, and leading the clinical, HR, IT and facilities teams with a focus on increasing cross-departmental collaboration to achieve anticipated growth over the next 10 years.

Under her leadership as Vice President of Clinical Services, SARRC’s clinical team has more than doubled in size, and most recently, she has been integral in restructuring clinical services by creating new, vital leadership positions that have distinguished children’s services from teen and adult services.

As COO, Dr. Kenzer will draw from her experience in clinical services and reinforce the integration of the clinical and administrative services teams, creating operational efficiencies that can be leveraged to further support our research, development, and accounting teams.

Dr. Kenzer earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Kenzer manages and supervises programs for children 12 years of age and younger. She came to SARRC after working as the Research and Development Manager at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD). As an undergraduate student looking for field experience credits, she stumbled into autism research and fell in love with the science. Dr. Kenzer especially values being able to make a real difference in families’ lives. 

Christopher J. Smith, Ph.D., has served as SARRC’s Vice President of Research for 14 years overseeing diagnostic services, pharmaceutical trials and independent investigations, which Dr. Smith either initiated at SARRC or rapidly expanded.

His innovative, collaborative approach has led to the development of new diagnostic tools and created national partnerships with some of the foremost autism researchers in the field. SARRC’s strategic plan will require Dr. Smith to further develop the organization’s infrastructure in 2021 so he can spend more time leading major organizational initiatives across departments and ensure their successful execution.

To reflect and emphasize his expanded, interdepartmental responsibilities aligned with our strategic plan, Dr. Smith will transition to Chief Science Officer.

Dr. Smith is an experimental psychologist with expertise in diagnosing autism spectrum disorder and measuring associated traits. Dr. Smith oversees all diagnostic evaluations and assessments for our clients while also directing all internal and external research projects. Prior to joining us at SARRC, he worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he still maintains a faculty position. Originally drawn to study autism because of the complexity of the disorder, here at SARRC, Dr. Smith values the ability to work with clients across all age groups and engage in out-of-the-box research endeavors.