Since 1963, Dr. Smith has been President and CEO of Central MS Health Services, Inc. (CMHS). CMHS has expanded from a staff of two to over forty-five employees that serve a patient base of several thousand. The clinic is located in Washington Addition on 1134 Winter Street. CMHS has been on the cutting edge of creating opportunities for minority physicians and patients and has served as a recruitment and training venue for hundreds of physicians and other allied health personnel from this city, state and across the nation. Dr. Smith has been so influential in the area the parkway was named after him and is now known as the Dr. Robert Smith Sr. Parkway.
Dr. Smith is a native of Terry, MS and received Bachelor of Science Degree from Tougaloo College. In 1957, he received his medical degree from Howard University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, where he was one of its youngest members to receive an MD Degree. Dr. Smith first gained national attention for his leadership in the Medical Committee for Human Rights in the early sixties when he was a founder of an organization which became the medical arm of the Civil Rights Movement, with Dr. Smith serving as its first volunteer Southern Medical Field Director. This organization was effective in pressuring health care institutions to end unequal treatment in the medical establishments and activated physicians and medical students from across the country to deal with the problems of those patients who were medically under-served.
Dr. Smith was one of the authors of the concept of comprehensive community health centers nationally and was instrumental in its development. This concept developed into a health care delivery system throughout the nation and continues to provide health care to many thousands of families. Dr. Smith also participated as the volunteer Medical Director of the Child Development Group of MS, the first largest community-based multi-county Head Start Program which became the model for Head Start for the state.
Dr. Smith has been honored with many awards and citations during his career. He has been featured in several publications including the New York Times, Time Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Tufts Medicine, Brown Medicine and several scientific journals and also a book, “The Good Doctors.”