She succeeds Dr. Ron Chapman, who resigned at the end of January. The department is the lead agency in California providing detection, treatment, prevention and surveillance of public health and environmental issues. It has a $3-billion budget and employs 3,580 people.
Dr. Smith, 58, earned a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She worked in communicable disease control in Morocco, Thailand and Nepal before receiving a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1992.
Smith held several positions at Stanford’s School of Medicine from 1992 to 2004, including resident, fellow and course director. During that time, she served as assistant section chief at the California Department of Health Services Tuberculosis Control Branch from 2000 to 2001 and on the clinical faculty at the Santa Clara County Valley Medical Center Division of Infectious Diseases from 2001 to 2004.
Dr. Smith has been a faculty consultant at the Francis J. Curry International Tuberculosis Center since 1997.
Smith joined the Napa County Health and Human Services Agency in 2004 and has served as public health officer and deputy director. She has been on the medical staff for infectious disease at Queen of the Valley Medical Center since 2012.
Smith is a liaison to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response Board of Scientific Counselors. She is president-elect of the California Conference of Local Health Officers and a member of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, American Public Health Association, Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Napa County Medical Society.
Smith is registered without party preference. The appointment requires confirmation by the state Senate.