Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith

Yale University Associate Dean for Health Equity Research and C.N.H. Long Professor of Internal Medicine (General Medicine), of Epidemiology (Chronic Disease) and of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences); Chair of the President’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

Dr. Nunez-Smith is an expert in public health. Originally from the US Virgin Islands, she attended Jefferson Medical College and earned a BA in Biological Anthropology and Psychology at Swarthmore College. Currently, Dr. Nunez-Smith is a faculty member, practicing physician, and researcher at Yale University and her research focuses on promoting health and healthcare equity for structurally marginalized populations. Specifically, Dr. Nunez-Smith concentrates on centering community engagement, supporting healthcare workforce diversity and development, developing patient reported measurements of healthcare quality, and identifying regional strategies to reduce the global burden of non-communicable diseases. Additionally, she is principal investigator on many NIH and foundation-funded research projects. One project she directs is the Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN), a collaboration across four Eastern Caribbean islands that actively supports several chronic disease research projects in addition to enhancing studies about health outcomes and leadership capacity in the region.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Dr. Nunez-Smith was present when the first patient infected with the virus arrived at the Yale New Haven Hospital. From this moment on, she was intricately involved with the nationwide COVID-19 response efforts. She was a pioneer in publishing a joint research paper on the quality and availability of race, ethnicity, and COVID-19 data during the pandemic. This paper is monumental as it described what that data was beginning to tell us about the inequities resulting from COVID-19. Soon, Dr. Nunez-Smith received a call from the Connecticut Governor’s office and she was asked to be a part of the Governor’s Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group as the appointed chair to its Community Committee. Not long after, Dr. Nunez-Smith was recruited by the Biden-Harris campaign. She served first as an advisor, then as a co-chair of the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board, and finally landed in her current role as the chair of the Administration’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Dr. Nunez-Smith continues to work within her roles as a professor, physician, advisor, and dean—to name a few of her hats—and has most recently been honored with election to the National Academy of Medicine.

Learn more about Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith’s work: