Deputy Director for Public Health Service and Implementation Science (DDPHSIS)

Nathaniel Smith, MD, MPH


Nathaniel Smith, MD, MPH is the Deputy Director for Public Health Service and Implementation Science (DDPHSIS) where he leads, promotes, and facilitates programs and policies that identify and respond to public health threats, improve health domestically and internationally, and put science into action.

Prior to his role as Deputy Director, Smith served as Director and State Health Officer for the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and as Secretary of Health. As such, he was a member of the Governor’s cabinet and provided senior scientific and executive leadership for the agency. Dr. Smith also recently served as President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

In his role as Director and State Health Officer for ADH, Dr. Smith also oversaw the delivery of over 100 services through the main office in Little Rock and over 90 local health units in each of the state’s 75 counties. These services included immunizations, WIC, outbreak response, vital records, chronic disease prevention, preparedness and emergency response, injury and violence prevention, and suicide prevention. Additionally, Dr. Smith previously served the ADH as Branch Chief for Infectious Diseases, State Epidemiologist, and Deputy Director for Public Health Programs.

Dr. Smith received a bachelor’s degree from Rice University in Houston, Texas, and a Master of Arts from Dallas Theological Seminary, also in Texas. He completed his Doctor of Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and his MPH from the University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston. Dr. Smith is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases and holds voluntary faculty positions in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine and in the Epidemiology Department at the College of Public Health. His clinical interests include HIV, global health, and emerging infectious diseases.

Dr. Smith is also an ordained minister in the Anglican Church. He and his wife served as medical missionaries at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya. During that time, he served in several different roles, including Chief of Internal Medicine, Medical Intern Program Director, and Infectious Diseases Consultant. He also served as Country Medical Director for the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Kenya and Senior Medical Technical Advisor for the AIDS Relief program in East Africa.

Page last reviewed: October 27, 2020