How We Make a Difference
Dr. Smita Malhotra
Chief Medical Director
As Chief Medical Director of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Dr. Smita Malhotra is responsible for all medical services in the nation's second-largest school district. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped lead the efforts to re-open the district’s campuses. She also worked to bring Narcan (naloxone) to all K-12 schools, part of a district response to the Fentanyl crisis.
Previously, Dr. Malhotra has been the Director of a Newborn Nursery and co-founded a program that helped to build resilience in children going through trauma in Los Angeles County. In 2014, she started a private practice with the goal of healing the whole child and family by combining traditional medicine with alternative therapies such as mindfulness, meditation, acupuncture and yoga. Her first book, The Newborn Handbook, published in 2020, guides new parents and caregivers through the first three months with a newborn.
Dr. Malhotra has also contributed to The Washington Post, HuffPost and has been interviewed on CNN, NPR, Los Angeles Times and other media outlets.
Dr. Malhotra's TEDx talk, "The Power of Embracing A Non-Linear Path" has had more than a half million views and counting. It was the second highest most-watched TEDx talk in the world when it was released in November 2023.
The Office of the Chief Medical Director was established in August 2021 and provides health policy direction for the entire school district. The Chief Medical Director also serves as a liaison to the District with both internal and external stakeholders, including the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and university partners. Through collaboration with our multidisciplinary medical teams, we are able to provide leadership to the District in public health emergency preparedness and response, as well as to compassionately care for the physical and mental well-being of both students and employees.
MissionTo provide equitable healthcare access to our school communities so that all students thrive academically, are engaged, successful and ready for the world.
VisionInnovating healthcare and transforming schools where all students are ready to learn.