Assistant Professor



Mieka Smart PhotoPublic Health Focus/Interests:

Why do neighbors with similar environmental exposures experience dramatic differences in health outcomes? Dr. Smart’s research foci seek to answer this question. Dr. Smart is a classically-trained epidemiologist with recent training in genomics and epigenetics for social sciences. She has extensive experience and expertise in longitudinal data analysis, as well as a substantive focus on the epidemiology of substance dependence. She has a strong background in management of multi-site, large-scale, longitudinal primary data collection and subsequent dissemination.

Dr. Smart studies the environmental context of health, and how spatial proximity to known environmental risk factors might contribute to risk or resilience. She directs Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved (LMU), a competitive program for medical students.  LMU offers service learning and didactic modules designed to strengthen their clinical and leadership skills for serving medically underserved populations in urban and rural locations locally and internationally.

She also directs the sachet ban-monitoring project in Uganda, a longitudinal data collection and analysis effort. The study is designed to provide the practical evidence needed to monitor policy interventions, enforcement strategies, and refine campaigns for compliance uptake.

At Michigan State University, Dr. Smart contributes leadership and expertise around the management of primary data collection, measurement of environmental predictors, and community engagement. Internationally, she champions cross-cultural professional development via peer-to-peer experiential learning. More than 100 students have taken her cross-cultural public health courses in Uganda and South Africa.


Doctor of Public Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD

Master of Health Science
Johns Hopkins, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD

Bachelor of Arts, Public Health and Social Science
Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Baltimore, MD


Public Health Courses Developed:

HM 828: Community Engagement in Public Health Practice


Professional Experience/Expertise:

Mental health
Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD)
Global health

Professional Activities or Current Research:

Flint Area Study

  • Dr. Smart led the Flint Area Study. This project established a resource of comprehensive data of social, physical, and drug/alcohol-related environmental exposures across the city of Flint.

Ugandan Alcohol Policy

  • There is a pending ban on satchet alcohol sales in Uganda.  Satchet alcohol (soft plastic pouch-style baggies containing multiple servings of alcohol for consumer purchase) is currently legally sold in Uganda.  Dr. Smart is completing longitudinal data collection for an eventual interrupted time-series analysis to evaluate the ban.

Public Health Education

  • Experiential learning is designed to help students get practical exposure and experience, reflect on those experiences, and then articulate what was learned.  Dr. Smart designed an experiential learning course in 2011 that over 100 American and Ugandan students have completed.  She is doing a follow-up study to understand how the experienctial public health topics course has impacted students' professional and/or educational trajectories.


Recent Publications, Presentations:

Furr‐Holden, C. D. M., Nesoff, E. D., Nelson, V., Milam, A. J., Smart, M., Lacey, K., ... & Leaf, P. J. (2018). Understanding the relationship between alcohol outlet density and life expectancy in Baltimore City: The role of community violence and community disadvantage. Journal of Community Psychology.

Smart, M.J., Yearwood, S., Hwang, S. Thorpe Jr., R.J., Furr-Holden, C.D.M. (2017) Impact of Maryland Alcohol Tax Increase on U.S. College Students’ Alcohol-Related Outcomes. Substance Use and Misuse, 53(6), 1015-1020.

Nesoff, E. D., Milam, A. J., Bone, L. R., Stillman, F. A., Smart, M. J., Hoke, K. S., & Furr-Holden, C. D. M. (2016). Tobacco policies and on-premise smoking in bars and clubs that cater to young African Americans following the Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act of 2007. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 1-16.

Esser, M., Walters, H., Smart, M.J., Jernigan, D. (2016) Impact of Maryland’s 2011 alcohol sales tax increase on alcoholic beverage sales. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 1-8.

Furr-Holden, C. D. M., Milam, A. J., Nesoff, E. D., Garoon, J., Smart, M. J., Duncan, A., & Warren, G. C. (2016). Triangulating Syndemic Services and Drug Treatment Policy: Improving Drug Treatment Portal Locations in Baltimore City. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 10(2), 319-327.

Brown, Q.L., Milam, A.J., Smart, M.J., Johnson, R.M., Linton, S.L., Furr-Holden, C.D.M., Ialongo, N.S. (2014) Association of objective and perceived neighborhood characteristics with tobacco use among young adults. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 1(134):370-5.

Milam, A., Furr-Holden, C.D.M., Whitaker, D., Smart, M.J., Leaf, P., Cooley, M., (2012). Neighborhood Environment and Internalizing Problems in African American Children. Community Mental Health Journal, 48(1):39-44.

Gibbons, L., Pollack, K., Curriero, F., Shields, T., Smart, M., Furr-Holden, C.D.M., and Cooley, M. (2011). Neighborhood Incivilities, Perceived Neighborhood Safety and Walking Behavior among Urban-Dwelling Children. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 8(2):262-71.

Furr-Holden, C.D.M., Campbell, K.D., Milam, A.J., Smart, M.J., Ialongo, N.A., Leaf, P.J. (2010). Metric Properties of the Neighborhood Inventory for Environmental Typology (NIfETy): an environmental assessment tool for measuring indicators of violence, alcohol, tobacco and other drug exposures. Evaluation Review, 34(3), 159-84.


Professional Website URL:

Personal Website URL: