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Smith-Ruiz, Dorothy

Non-Resident Scholar
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Dorothy Smith-Ruiz CV

Dorothy Smith-Ruiz is on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She received her PhD in the Department of Sociology from Michigan State University. She was granted a two-year NIA postdoctoral fellowship from the Yale University School of Epidemiology and Public Health to study mental health among African Americans, resulting in a book publication (1990). A second NIA postdoctoral fellowship was granted from The Duke University Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development to study the impact of grandparent caregiving on older African American women.

As a Fulbright Scholar, she traveled to Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Senegal to study culture and health in urban African populations. She has served as Interim Chair of the Africana Studies Department at UNC Charlotte on three different occasions, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Director of Graduate Studies for a number of years. Her research projects include: (1) Needs assessment and religious participation among African American grandparent caregivers; (2) Mental Health and Mental Disorder among African Americans; (3) the impact of mass incarceration on African American families; (4) the impact of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 on African American families; custodial African American grandmothers, and health of middle-aged and older African American women.

She has authored numerous articles, book chapters, and four books. Her books include The Handbook of Mental Health and Mental Disorder among African Americans (Greenwood, 1990),  Amazing Grace: Custodial African American Grandmothers as Caregivers and Conveyers of Traditional Values (Praeger, 2004);  Contemporary African American Families: Achievements, Challenges, and Empowerment Strategies in the Twenty-First Century, co-authored with Sherri Lawson Clark and Marcia Watson (Routledge, 2017); and, Black Families and Recession in the United States: The Impact of the Recession of 2007-2009 (2021) Co-authored with Albert Kopak. Her present book: Older African American Women: Systemic Racism, Health Disparities, Spirituality, and Caring Responsibilities will be published by Routledge Press, December 2024).