Michelle Smith Is the New Leader of the Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center

Michelle R. Smith is the new director of the Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center at Dillard University in New Orleans.

The Little Rock, Arkansas native returns to her alma mater with an impressive resume, bringing over 20 years of public health experience to her new role. As the former director of the Office of Health Equity at the Arkansas Department of Health, she has been a trailblazer in innovative approaches to reduce health disparities.

In 2018, Dr. Smith was 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 2021, she received a commendation medal for outstanding achievement while serving as a medical liaison during Operation Allies Welcome, where she aided in the resettlement efforts for Afghan refugees.

“Dillard gave me a strong background and it helped me realize that you need more than book knowledge to succeed. It was the connections and the family atmosphere that steered me clear of harm, and helped me to excel in academics,” said the former biology major.

Dr. Smith received a master of public health degree from Tulane University in New Orleans and a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Arkansas.

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