Edith F. Smith-Rayford, M.D. ’88
On making a difference through helping and giving to others.
According to Edith F. Smith-Rayford, M.D. '88, her service to the underserved and disenfranchised through community health centers was born and nurtured at Meharry Medical College.
Originally from Terry, Mississippi, a rural town south of Jackson, Smith-Rayford said she was introduced to community health centers through Meharry and the Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center. After graduation from Meharry, she said, her career path took her through work with other community health centers until she returned to Jackson where she started a private practice.
"Private practice was good," she said, "but that yearning for the community health center experience that started at Meharry actually captured me, and I went back." Smith-Rayford then served as director of the women's health department at one of the largest community health centers in the country, Jackson-Hinds Community Health Center.
Because of Meharry, she said—the training, observing different clinics, and the input from her attendings—the experience "set a great stage for me to...direct a clinic and make a big difference in the women in that area."
Out of thanks and dedication to her alma mater, Smith-Rayford is numbered among the Guardians of Our Legacy—alumni who have contributed over $100,000 in support of Meharry Medical College and its programs.
"The legacy that I would like to leave is that somehow, someway, I have made a difference because of Meharry—the institution who supported me in helping me to become the person that I am such that I can be in a position to help others and to give to others," she said.