M.D. Chair Department of H.I.V./AIDS, North General Hospital, New York, N.Y.
Cheryl Smith, M.D., is profoundly in-spired by her favorite Benjamin Franklin aphorism: “Wish not so much to live long as to live well.” It underscores a philosophy that guides her in the myriad functions she performs as chair of the department of H.I.V./AIDS at North General Hospital in New York City. There, she oversees clinical and outreach efforts for H.I.V./AIDS, a disease that plagues communities of color across the nation, notably African-Americans and Hispanics, and which has had distressing social and economic effects worldwide, perhaps nowhere more devastatingly so than in Africa.
Dr. Smith is committed to making strides in halting the disease’s ominous march. “Our community’s well-being—mind, body and soul—is critically important to me,” she says. “I love caring for people—clients, staff and family.”
Dr. Smith earned an undergraduate degree in biology at the City College of New York, an M.D. at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and certification in acupuncture at the UCLA School of Medicine. She also participated in the health-care executive program at UCLA and completed her residency in internal medicine at New York University Medical Center’s Bellevue Hospital.
Over the years she has made a significant contribution to the medical profession. She served as an attending physician with the International Medical Corps-Somalia Project at that country’s Baidoa District Hospital, and as an H.I.V. expert at Mount Sinai School of Medicine before assuming the joint position of medical director and chair of the Department of H.I.V./AIDS at North General.
Dr. Smith does not hesitate when asked about her drive and the reasons for her success. “I attribute my success to my family, specifically my sister and my parents,” she says. “My mother and father showed me that hard work and perseverance is not an option, but a requirement for success. My sister showed me that taking risks for what you love is how you live life to the fullest.”
Dr. Smith participated in TNJ’s landmark Multicultural Summit on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) last November, where she described the use of CAM among H.I.V. and AIDS patients.