It is with great sadness that the SEICHE Center for Health and Justice at Yale School of Medicine announces the passing of Jerry Smart Jr. on August 27, 2021. He was 58 years old.
Smart was a central part of the SEICHE Center, which uses clinical care, research, policy work, and education to address the health-harming impacts of mass incarceration. Smart had overcome adversity in his own life, having himself been incarcerated, and was dedicated to helping others impacted by incarceration. Through his work at the center, Smart was the senior community health worker for the Transitions Clinic program at the New Haven Primary Care Center. In that role, he helped thousands of people coming back from prison and jail find their path. He also contributed to research on NIH-funded grants on the health impacts of incarceration.
He was known for the state presence he built, serving on the Connecticut Community Health Worker Advisory Board, and a national presence as an educator of community health workers and health professionals all over this country—teaching courses, giving talks at major universities, and serving on the steering committee of the Yale Center for Research Engagement. Over the years Smart was an active community leader. He had been president of the PTO at Conte West Hills Magnet School for two terms.
Smart will be remembered at work for his humility, steady dedication, fortitude, sense of humor, style, and energy. Jerry leaves to cherish his memory, four children: Jerry Smart III, Javon Smart, Jeremiah Smart, and Zion Smart; one grandson, Jayden Smart; his father, Jerry Smart Sr.; siblings Janice Allen, Mary Louise Smart, Jacqueline Smart, Michael Smart (Elaine), and a host of nieces, nephews, family, and friends. He was predeceased by his mother, Mary (Allen) Smart, his brother Jermar Smart, and his sister Stephanie Smart.
Calling hours will be Thursday, September 9, 2021 at Trinity Temple Of Church God in Christ 9:00-11:00 a.m, followed by a celebration of life at 11:00 a.m.