Phillip M. Smith, 49BA, has risen from humble beginnings to become one of the most respected black physicians in the country with an impressive record as a humanitarian, physician, hospital administrator, medical school dean, and public health official.
Owner of a busy obstetrics and gynecology practice in the Los Angeles area, Smith is a dedicated public servant, serving as the only black on the Los Angeles County Hospital Commission. He has been a member of the Board of Sickle Cell Research Foundation of Los Angeles since 1967, currently serving as its president and chairman of its fund raising committee.
Long a champion for women and black physicians, Smith is a member of the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles, an organization which provides mentors for academically talented black children, encourages them to plan for college, and provides scholarships.
Smith has served as president, chairman of the board, and speaker of the National Medical Association's House of Delegates. He has also been on scores of other public boards and commissions and has been honored repeatedly for his unselfish involvement in the community and within his profession.
Born in Chicago, Smith spent his formative years in Alcorn, Mississippi, where he was valedictorian of his high school class. After a stint in the U.S. Air Force, he entered the University of Iowa, his home for the next six years while he earned a bachelor's degree and did graduate study in zoology. At Iowa, Smith had the distinction of becoming the first black member of Alpha Phi Omega.
After receiving a medical degree from Meharry Medical College, Smith spent two years in a surgery residency in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was an instructor in general surgery at Marquette University. He spent an additional three years in obstetrics and gynecology at Kansas City General Hospital and is board certified in that specialty.
In 1962, he set up his private practice, taking time off from 1970-75 to serve as medical director of Martin Luther King, Jr. General Hospital and assistant dean of the Charles R. Drew Medical School. He was also regional director of the Southeast Health Region in Los Angeles during the mid-seventies.
Smith is a life member of the UI Alumni Association.