Dr. Michelle R. Smith

Your 2022 Humanitarian of the Year!

As Director of the Office of Health Equity at the Arkansas Department of Health from 2010-2022, and now the new Director of Dillard University’s Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center, Dr. Michelle R. Smith has been a trailblazer in innovative approaches to reduce health disparities. She created
Sisters and Brothers United, a community-based program with Black fraternities and sororities, to address the state’s high infant mortality rate among African Americans.

Dr. Smith also developed the Arkansas Minority Barber & Beauty Shop Health Initiative which provided screenings and education about heart disease and stroke in non-traditional health care settings.

In 2021, she directed the effort to secure a 41-million-dollar grant from the CDC to address health disparities related to COVID-19. During the height of the pandemic, Dr. Smith developed health equity strike teams to increase COVID testing and vaccinations. These vaccination sites included HBCUs, churches, barbershops, schools, and other locations in minority communities. She also formed the monoclonal antibody squad (MAB Squad) to increase access to COVID treatment for minorities. This work has been nationally recognized, and she recently spoke on a panel at the Summit on the Future of COVID-19 Vaccines at the White House.

She is the recipient of multiple awards for her leadership and outreach. Most recently she received the President’s Award from the Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus, the Friends of APA Award from the Arkansas Pharmacist Association, and the Dr. Joycelyn Elders’ Minority Health Pioneer Award from the Arkansas Minority Health Commission.

In 2018 she commissioned into the United States Air Force as a Captain and currently serves as the Public Health Officer for the 189th medical group with the Arkansas Air National Guard. In 2020, she established the first lactation room at the 189th Airlift Wing.

In 2021, she received a commendation medal for outstanding achievement while serving as Medical Liaison during Operation Allies Welcome, where she aided in the resettlement efforts for Afghan refugees.

Dr. Smith received a bachelor’s degree from Dillard University where she majored in Biology and minored in Creative Writing. She received an MPH from Tulane University and a PhD in Public Policy
from the University of Arkansas. Additionally, she is a member of Wesley United Methodist Church and is a lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Sorority, Incorporated.

In September 2022, Dr. Smith became the Director of the Minority Health and Health Equity Resource Center at Dillard University in New Orleans. The mission of the Center is to take a comprehensive
approach to advancing research across disciplinary areas, to enhance collaboration throughout the scientific community, and to improve the overall quality of health for racial and ethnic minorities.

Contact Us Today

2513 McCain Blvd., Ste 2
Unit 175
North Little Rock, AR 72116