This month marks the one-year anniversary since the founding of the Madie M. Smith Women’s Health Equity Institute. Through our Charlotte chapter, the Council is proud to partner with Charlotte communities to advance shared goals of improving Black health, especially for Black women who face increased challenges and risks to their health because or systemic racism and discrimination.
Across North Carolina and the United States Black women are:
Implementing better standards and practices will save Black women’s lives. Health equity can be attained through this transformative partnership, allowing us to reimagine healthy Black communities.
In March 2022, the Charlotte chapter partnered with Sisters Engaged, Empowered & Knowledgeable, Incorporated 2 (SEEKInc.2), UNC Charlotte, CW Williams Community Health Clinic, Mecklenburg County Public Health, Life Changing Church and other prominent community organizations to launch the Madie M. Smith Women’s Health Equity Institute (WHEI). The WHEI provides inclusive opportunities for women’s health, encompassing the mind, body, spirit, and emotional being while empowering Black women and their wellbeing.
The Institute is named for Mrs. Madie M. Smith, MBA, BS (1931-2023), a public health pioneer and the first Black public health supervisor in the Mecklenburg County Health Department (MCHD). She also served as the first child specialist of the county. A Charlotte, NC native, Mrs. Smith was hired at fourteen years old to work in the Polio Unit at Charlotte’s segregated Memorial Hospital. She later attended the historically Black St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, NC, to pursue nursing. Upon graduating, she was encouraged by other Black nurses to apply for positions within the MCHD. However, MCHD was segregated then, leaving Black nursing positions to be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. After a vacancy, with her resilience and courage, Mrs. Smith transferred to Mecklenburg County, making history ever since, paving the way for other Black people to continue pursuing managerial positions within public health and beyond.
After 50 years of public health service, Mrs. Madie M. Smith’s legacy still influences the work of the Mecklenburg County Health Department and the greater Charlotte community. Her work throughout the Charlotte area and beyond is remarkable, and her courage, which she often spoke of, is admirable. CBH is grateful for the numerous Black Americans pushing the work of public health forward each day, ensuring that one day we will see health equity in our communities.
“We [Black women] spend a lot of time focusing on other people, and taking care of other people, and not necessarily ourselves”
– Melicia Whitt-Glover, PhD
The legacy and resilience of Mrs. Madie M. Smith’s work have set the foundation for success in creating healthy spaces for Black women and positively influencing lives.
“We should always be prayerful for the courage to lead when the odds are against you only because you are a woman and the color of your skin. When we can lead, we should mentor and uplift others with compassion and respect.”
– Madie M. Smith-Moore
After leaving a legacy and influencing many lives, Mrs. Madie M. Smith-Moore passed away in March 2023. For those who want to honor and celebrate her life, her family has requested donations to the Council to support further investment in women’s health through the WHEI.
September 2023 Convening
September 12-14, 2023