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Kenneth D. Smith, PhD

Kenneth D. Smith, PhD

Assistant Professor - Currently Accepting PhD Students


Kenneth D. Smith, PhD is a health economist and public health practitioner. He received his doctorate from The Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he studied economic demography and health economics. His post graduate research focused on risk adjustment, healthcare financing, pharmacoeconomic evaluation, provider practice behavior, health professional supply and demand, and the evaluation of large national healthcare demonstration projects for persons with chronic disease.  

Dr. Smith became a public health practitioner after he was appointed the Director of Chronic Disease Prevention, Philadelphia Department of Public Health. There, he oversaw the City’s Tobacco Control Program; helped implement the City’s Clean Indoor Air Act and trans fats ban; and drafted a plan to improve access to fresh, affordable produce. As a result of Dr. Smith’s efforts, and with the assistance of community stakeholders, Philadelphia passed the nation’s most comprehensive menu labeling ordinance.

Dr. Smith was the Lead Analyst for Chronic Disease and Environmental Health at the National Association of City and County Health Officials, where he built a national-level portfolio of projects around Health Impact Assessment, Health in All Policies, and community health assessment and planning. This work helped diffuse policy, systems, and environmental change strategies to prevent chronic disease among local health departments across the nation.

As Interim Director for the Center to Eliminate Health Disparities at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Dr. Smith led an 1115 Waiver project (the Race Ethnicity and Language [REAL] Data project) to collect and connect REAL data with the patient medical record, identify health disparities, develop plans, and implement activities to address those disparities. The project led to new partnerships among clinical academic departments and the community to address disparities in diabetes, low birthweight, and cardiovascular disease. 

More recently, as a senior analyst for the Texas Health Institute, Dr. Smith conducted a cost analysis comparing the estimated costs with the potential cost offsets associated with a bill offering Medicaid preventative dental benefit for adults with disabilities. A key component of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities’ advocacy efforts, the research supported the successful passage of the bill in the 87th Texas legislature.

As Assistant Professor for Public Health in the UTK School of Education, Health and Human Sciences, Dr. Smith uses action research to uncover and address the structural determinants of health inequities at the local, national, and global levels. His teaching responsibilities include Healthcare Organizations: Behavior and Management and Global Public Health.

He currently is the board chair for Common Market Texas, an aggregator/distributor of local produce from farmers using sustainable agriculture techniques. He also is an advisor to Wellness for Greatness Kenya where he is co-chairing a global technical advisory group for health promotion. 


Curriculum Vitae


Smith, KD (2021). Implementing a Medicaid Dental Benefit for Adults with Disabilities Can Yield Significant Cost Savings. TX: Texas Health Institute.

Smith KD, Barge, S., Jones, C., Cooper, K., Oliphant, E., Bailey-Wallace, K. (2020) Local Government Expenditures and Health: Harrison County and Marshall, Texas Report. Austin, TX: Texas Health Institute.

Smith, KD, Barge, S., Jones, C. (2020). COVID-19 in Texas: An Analysis of Behavioral Health Needs to Advance Response Efforts. Austin, Texas: Texas Health Institute.

Siddiqui, N., Faria, A., Smith, KD., Andrulis, D., Sanghavi, A. (2020) What Drives Health in Southwest Houston: Findings from a Community-Based Survey of the Social Determinants of Health. Austin, TX: Texas Health Institute.

Lee, W. C., Serag, H., Ohsfeldt, R. L., Eschbach, K., Khalife, W., Morsy, M., Smith, K.D. ... & Raimer, B. G. (2019). Racial disparities in type of heart failure and hospitalization. Journal of immigrant and minority health21(1), 98-104.

Barshes, N. R., Sharath, S., Zamani, N., Smith, K., Serag, H., & Rogers, S. O. (2018). Racial and geographic variation in leg amputations among Texans. Texas public health journal70(3), 22.

Barshes NR, Sharath S, Zamani S, Smith KD, Serag H, and Rogers, S. (2018). Racial and Geographic Disparities in Leg Amputations. Texas Public Health Journal, 70(3), 22.

Smith, KD (2018) Estimating the Return on Investment for Community Health Choice’s Life Services Programs. Research report for the Episcopal Health Foundation. Galveston, Texas.

Schiavo, R. & Smith, KD (2017). Advancing Health Equity: Population Health and the Role of Multisectoral Collaboration. In Ronald Bailek (Ed.), Solving Population Health Problems Through Collaboration. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Smith, KD and Serag, H (2017). Central American Asylum-Seekers and Family Detention: What’s in the Best Interest of Child Migrants? Center to Eliminate Health Disparities at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas.

Greeley, C., Guillot-Wright, S., Kovic, C., Raphael, J., Serag, H. & Smith, KD (2017). Policies, Practices and Structures Impacting the Health and Care Access of Migrant Children: Research Report 2016. Galveston, TX: Center to Eliminate Health Disparities.

Lee WC, Veeranki SP, Serag H, Eschbach K, Smith KD (2016) Improving the `Collection of Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data to Reduce Healthcare Disparities: A Case Study from an Academic Medical Center. Perspect Health Inf Manag.

Smith, KD, Serag, H., Lee, W.-C., Eschbach, K. (2015). A Plan to Address Documented Health Disparities while Enhancing UTMB Capacity for Coordinated Action: The 1st Improvement Plan. Galveston, TX: Center to Eliminate Health Disparities.

Gase, L. N., Pennotti, R., & Smith, KD (2013). “Health in All Policies”: taking stock of emerging practices to incorporate health in decision making in the United States. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 19(6), 529-540.

Smith, KD, Cox, E. (2010). A Roadmap for Chronic Disease Prevention: Building National Capacity for Population Health. Washington, DC: National Association of County and City Health Officials.

Smith, KD (2010). From healthy homes to health equity. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 16(5), S3-S4.

Maio, V., Yuen, E. J., Novielli, K., Smith, KD, & Louis, D. Z. (2006). Potentially inappropriate medication prescribing for elderly outpatients in Emilia Romagna, Italy. Drugs & Aging, 23(11), 915-924.

Smith, KD, Goldfarb, N., Meurling, J. (2006). “Likelihood of Drug Modification in Response to Glycemic Control Change in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.” Philadelphia, PA: Department of Health Policy, Thomas Jefferson University.

Smith, KD, Yuen, E. J., Louis, D. Z., Rabinowitz, C., Maio, V., Jimbo, M., ... & Taroni, F. (2005). Risk adjustment in a non-market-based system: the case of Emilia-Romagna, Italy. International journal of healthcare technology and management, 7(1-2), 100-116.

Smith, KD, Yuen, E.J. (2003). Interim Report: Developing Risk Adjuster Models, Regione Emilia Romagna Italy. Philadelphia, PA: Center for Research on Medical Education and Health Care, Thomas Jefferson University.

Smith, KD (2001). The Impact of the Second-Generation Social HMO on Health and Functioning Outcomes. Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Smith, KD, Wooldridge, J., de Saw, C., & Sinclair, M. (2001). Professional Nurse Traineeship Grants: Who Gets Them and Where Do They Work after Graduation? Final Report.

Brown, R., Smith, KD, Retchin, S., Trenholm, C., Chu, D. (2001) The Predictive Accuracy of a Parsimonious Risk Adjuster for Medicare Health Maintenance Organizations. Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Smith, KD, Brown, R., Khan, N. (2001) The Predictive Accuracy of Risk Adjusters for Dual Eligibles. Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Smith, KD, Perez-Johnson, I., & Wooldridge, J. (2000). Uncertainty and forecasting local health professional shortages. Population Research and Policy Review, 19(5), 477-503.

Kenneth D. Smith, PhD

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