Jennifer Smith has always been passionate about emerging infectious diseases like prions, Ebola virus, and 1918 influenza. She earned her doctoral degree in microbiology and molecular cell sciences while working with influenza viruses at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, under the direction of world-renowned virologist Dr. Robert Webster. She has spent much of her career studying both animal and human viruses and has dedicated herself to having a positive impact on her community.
As an epidemiological specialist at the Hawai’i Department of Health (HDOH), Jennifer had a front-row seat for the public health response to COVID-19. During the pandemic, she worked on the front line of response efforts, monitoring travelers, investigating cases, and executing contact tracing. That all ended when she came forward to expose corruption by HDOH leadership, was put on administrative leave, and ultimately was discharged from her position without cause.
Jennifer lives in Hawai’i with her husband and their two shih tzus, Allie and Fozzie. She loves to read and hang out on the beach, enjoys sewing tote bags and purses, and will continue to pursue truth via honest, good science.