Chychy Smith is looking out for Arkansans’ health, and constantly seeking new approaches to safeguard it.
“The philosophy that really drives me is that if I change my mindset, I will change my results,” said Smith, a native Nigerian who grew up in Florida before finding her career at the Arkansas Department of Health. “Once the mindset changes, new strategies emerge to change your results.”
A baccalaureate graduate of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale with a master’s and doctorate in public health from Walden University in Minneapolis, Smith joined the Department of Health in 2013 in Miller County.
Later, she worked with colleagues and volunteers to organize the Arkansas Minority Barber & Beauty Shop Health Outreach Program, taking stroke and heart disease awareness directly to hubs in minority communities. That work led to what she sees as her most significant achievement, being named young researcher of the year in 2021 by Xavier University of Louisiana’s Center for Minority Health & Health Disparities.
“I’m not an accolades person,” Smith said, “but that award recognized that what I do in research and education positively impacts health outcomes.”