Per the Ulster County Charter, the Commissioner of Health must be a licensed physician. The Commissioner is appointed by the County Executive in consultation with the Board of Health and subject to confirmation by the Ulster County Legislature. Approval of the Commissioners of the New York State Department of Health, New York State Office of Mental Hygiene, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities is also required. The Health Commissioner exercises all powers and duties conferred by State and Local Law, as well as related duties that may be required by the County Executive.
Carol M. Smith, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Carol Smith was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Health in May of 2012. She oversees the health of 182,000 people over a 1,161 square mile area along with a team of professionals in the nursing, environmental, and health education divisions. Dr. Smith has the distinction of serving as one of the first Commissioners of both the Department of Health and Mental Health in the State of New York. As Commissioner of Mental Health, Dr. Smith and her team of mental health professionals, oversee the work of the Local Government Unit and mental health care clinic services. Dr. Smith is a member of the New York State Association of County Health Officials, the National Association of City and County Health Officials, the NYS Conference of Local Mental Health Directors, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. She is the recipient of the National Association of City and County Health Officials and the Robert Wood Johnson/deBeaumont Foundation Fellowship Award for new Public Health Officials.
Dr. Smith received her Medical Doctorate from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and her Master of Public Health Degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Smith is licensed to practice Medicine in the State of New York, and, was Board Certified in Internal Medicine in 1991. She served as Medical Director of Occupational Health Services in Ulster County since 2000, and is a certified Medical Review Officer, with expertise in substance abuse testing.
Dr. Smith is a sought after public speaker and has presented on numerous health topics including Lyme disease, Vaccine Preventable Disease Immunization, Prevention of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses, and the New Prevention Era in Public Health.
Dr. Smith is committed to the mission of transforming Ulster County into the healthiest county in New York State through community assessment, engagement, planning, partnerships, and exceptional customer service. Dr. Smith and the entire Health Team fully embrace the Ten Essential Services of Public Health which are:
- Monitor health status to identify and solve community health and mental health problems (e.g., community health profile, vital statistics, and health status)
- Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community (e.g., epidemiologic surveillance systems, laboratory support)
- Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues (e.g., health promotion and social marketing)
- Mobilize community partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems (e.g., convening and facilitating community groups to promote health and mental health)
- Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts (e.g., leadership development and health and mental health systems planning)
- Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety (e.g., enforcement of sanitary codes to ensure safety of environment)
- Link people to needed personal health services (e.g., services that increase access to health care)
- Assure competent public and personal health care workforce (e.g., education and training for all public health care providers)
- Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services (e.g., continuous evaluation of public health and mental health programs)
- Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems (e.g., links with academic institutions and capacity for epidemiologic and economic analyses)
Dr. Smith believes that it is an honor and privilege to serve the people of Ulster County as Health Commissioner. She believes that, together with the County Executive, Mike Hein, and his team of dedicated professionals, the County is on the right path to become the model for the Healthiest Community in the State of New York.