Denise Octavia Smith, MBA, CHW, PN

Executive Director, National Association of Community Health Workers


Denise Octavia Smith is the founding Executive Director of the National Association of Community Health Workers. As a community health worker and health care administration professional, she designs and implements community-centered strategies to achieve equitable, diverse and inclusive partnerships, programs and environments. Through her program development, research, advocacy, and collaborative partnerships, Mrs. Smith pursues a culture of health where individuals have self determination and dignity, where communities meaningfully contribute to system design and governance and where societies address structural barriers to well-being. Prior to joining NACHW, Denise was the Research Associate and Projects Manager at the UConn Health Disparities Institute. Mrs. Smith is a 2018 Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Leadership Fellow and a 2016 Universal Health Care Foundation “Leaders in Action” Fellow.