Charles L. Smith

Class: 1956Inducted: 2014

Phyllis graduated from George Washington University and went on to earn her Master's degree at Northeastern University in Speech and Language Pathology. Her early clinical work was devoted to young children with autism and developmental delays. She gravitated to a career in public health policy, ultimately benefiting the lives of millions.

While in Massachusetts, Phyllis developed a model program "The Preschool Enrichment Team" which structured the preschool environment to promote healthy development. Then, as the nation's first Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Disabled Children's Program Director, she enginnered screening clinics across the Commonwealth to evaluate medical conditions of children who had no access to medical care.

She joined New York State government in 1978 and assumed increasingly responsible positions in the Empire State's health arena, with a focus on children. As the Advocate for Children's Health, she developed school-based health centers, a statewide immunization registry, and services for children with developmental delays. She authored New York's first major report on reforms to improve services to vulnerable children.

Following the widespread adoption of managed care in the early to mid-1990s, Phyllis oversaw the implementation of NY's Medicaid managed care program, negotiating with federal officials to craft a program with the highest standards, including quality measures and tools to evaluate health plan performance, network adequacy, and consumer access.

As the Deputy Director of the NYS Office of Public Health, Phyllis led New York's public health programs, overseeing vital activities including: the State's clinical and environmental laboratories; New York's AIDS programs; regulation of environmental contaminants in air, water, and food; the state's activities on nutrition; health screenings, immunizations; tobacco control; infant, child, and women's health; public health surveillance; disease control and e