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.