New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute Establishes New Recognition For Public Health Leaders and Innovators

Trenton, NJ—The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute today honored Leon Smith, MD—one of the nation’s most well-known and respected infectious disease specialists—as the very first recipient of a new award created in his name and honor: “The Leon G. Smith Lifetime of Public Health Service” award.

“Dr. Smith is the physician other doctors turn to when they have a medical mystery to solve,” said David L. Knowlton, President and CEO of the Quality Institute. “His colleagues count on his abundant experience and encyclopedic mind. We are all better off because he remains a calm voice of reason when public anxiety threatens to override medical science in the care of patients with contagious diseases like Ebola.”

At 84, Dr. Smith still treats some of the most difficult-to-diagnose patients. His career spans five decades from fighting children’s polio in the 1950’s, to establishing one of the nation’s first and largest HIV clinics. Dr. Smith has worked with nearly every significant infectious disease, including Hepatitis A, B and C; methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and enterovirus.

An alumnus of Georgetown Medical School, Yale Medical School and the National Institutes of Health, he continues to organize groups of physicians and medical students in a program called Inter-City Infectious Disease Rounds in New York. He also founded the Smith Infectious Diseases Foundation (

“Establishing this new permanent award in his name is a fitting tribute to the impact Dr. Smith has had on countless lives in New Jersey and the nation,” Knowlton commented. Knowlton announced that the honor would be awarded periodically to a New Jersey medical professional who “best exemplifies a lifetime of healing, compassion and innovation in the public health arena.”

The award was presented to Dr. Smith at the Quality Institute’s annual winter all-council conference. This year’s topic for the 100 New Jersey health industry leaders who attended wasThe New Plagues: Fear and Disease in the Information Age.”

The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute works to ensure that the highest levels of quality, safety, accountability, transparency and cost containment are integral to the delivery of health care in New Jersey. As an independent, nonpartisan organization, we offer expert analysis using the latest data to drive policy change to achieve best health outcomes for consumers. Our leadership convenes colleagues and competitors, practitioners and policymakers, innovators and industry veterans from every health care interest. For more information about our current initiatives, please visit