hero image
Daniel Smith, PhD - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Daniel Smith, PhD

Weingarten Endowed Assistant Professor of Nursing | Villanova University


Dr. Smith is an environmental/occupational health researcher primarily focused on the multiple health impacts of climate change on health.

Areas of Expertise (10)

Climate Change and Health

Harm Reduction

Kidney Health

Lead Exposure


Outdoor Worker Health

Extreme Heat

Migrant Worker Health

Data Science in Nursing

Heat-Related Illness


Dr. Daniel Smith is the Weingarten Endowed Assistant Professor at Villanova University’s M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing. He teaches and researches topics related to public health nursing, planetary health, harm reduction nursing, and data science in healthcare. He is a nationally and international recognized expert in climate change and health and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Global Nurses Climate Change Committee for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. He also serves as the Co-Director of Research for the Farmworker Family Health Program based out of the School of Nursing at Emory University.

Dr. Smith’s work has been recognized by numerous institutions. He has served as a subject matter expert and author for the American Nurses Association’s recently released position statement, Nurses’ Role in Addressing Global Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health. He has also served as a subject matter expert for the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Nursing Research to help identify and promote national nursing research priorities surrounding climate change and health.

Dr. Smith has published in many peer-reviewed journals including, Workplace Safety & Health, Environmental Research: Health, International Journal of Environmental and Public Health, Public Health Nursing, Journal of Agromedicine, and Journal of Nursing Scholarship. He is currently completing studies related to heat-related illness first aid in migrant farmworkers and understanding local patterns of lead exposure in the Latinx community of Norristown, PA. Daniel also maintains clinical practice as a nurse practitioner providing primary and addiction medicine care to populations in the greater Philadelphia region.

Prior to joining Villanova Nursing in 2022, Dr. Smith was a PhD Student and Clinical Instructor at Emory University’s School of Nursing (2018-2021) and was awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Future of Nursing Scholars fellowship to support his studies.

Affiliations (4)

  • Eastern Nursing Research Society
  • National League of Nursing
  • American Nurses Association
  • American Public Health Association

Select Media Appearances (6)

Dying in the Fields as Temperatures Soar

Inside Climate News  online


For Daniel Smith, an assistant professor at Villanova University’s College of Nursing, working out whether heat played a role in a specific person’s death is a classic chicken or egg question. “If a worker hadn’t been working in the heat,” Smith said, “they likely would have never died from the myocardial infarction, the renal failure, the dehydration, the heat stroke.”

view more

Nurses Step Up to Bat on Educating Patients About Climate Change

Medpage Today  online


Carpenter highlighted the work of Daniel Smith, PhD, AGPCNP-BC, of Villanova University in Pennsylvania, who is studying the impacts of heat waves and other climate-related weather events on farm workers, and exploring ways this community can stay cool and decrease their risk of injury from heat while they work.

view more

Man's Brain Gets 'Fried' After Suffering Massive Burns in Phoenix Heat Wave

Newsweek  online


Daniel Jackson Smith, an assistant professor at Villanova University and a nurse practitioner, told Newsweek via phone that heart spikes and feelings of nausea unaccompanied by vomiting should be acknowledged and lead to 10-15 minutes of rest to assess the situation.

view more

NHE 5-19 Dr. Daniel Smith: The environmental nurse researcher who makes you want to be an environmental nurse researcher

Nurses for Healthy Environments Podcast  online


Dr. Daniel Smith is the Weingarten Endowed Assistant Professor at Villanova University’s M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing. He teaches across the curriculum in courses such as Imperatives for Global and Public Health Nursing and Planetary Health for Global Populations. Dr. Smith’s research utilizes participatory action research and data science methodologies to better understand the health impacts of various environmental exposures.

view more

A Clinic in a Cornfield: Emory’s Farmworker Family Health Program

Johnson & Johnson Nursing  online


Daniel Smith, Ph.D., RN, CNE, is a faculty member and a nurse practitioner student at Emory University who also participates in the FWFHP. For Daniel, who grew up on a farm, traveling and speaking with the farmers face-to-face brought a deeper appreciation of many aspects--not just of where his food comes from but also of the challenging lives of the farmworkers and the struggle to receive or prioritize basic health needs in the hot fields.

view more

Nurse volunteers speak the many languages of love in Clarkston

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution  online


Nurses like Daniel J. Smith are in the thick of all this action. CCHC collaborates with Emory University, Mercer University, Clayton State University and University of North Georgia, and their nursing students commonly rotate through the clinic.

view more

Research Grants (2)

“From Data Science to Community Action: Environmental Justice Research & Education”

Villanova University $12,500


“Creating a Community-Based Participatory Research Program to Reduce Lead Exposure”

Villanova University $20,000

05/15/2022 – 08/15/2022

Select Academic Articles (6)

Intervention studies to reduce the impact of climate change on health in rural communities in the United States: a systematic review

Environmental Research: Health

2023 Climate change, the greatest public health threat of the 21st century, will uniquely affect rural areas that are geographically isolated and experience greater health inequities. This systematic review describes and evaluates interventions to lessen the effects of climate change on human health in the rural United States, including interventions on air pollution, vector ecology, water quality, severe weather, extreme heat, allergens, and water and food supply. Searches were constructed based on the eight domains of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Framework "Impact of Climate Change on Human Health." Searches were conducted in EBSCO Environment Complete, EBSCO GreenFILE, Embase.com, MEDLINE via PubMed, and Web of Science. Duplicate citations were removed, abstracts were screened for initial inclusion, and full texts were screened for final inclusion. Pertinent data were extracted and synthesized across the eight domains. Article quality was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Of 8471 studies screened, 297 were identified for full text review, and a total 49 studies were included in this review.

view more

Using Occupational Histories to Assess Heat Exposure in Undocumented Workers Receiving Emergent Renal Dialysis in Georgia

Workplace Health & Safety

2022 Background: Immigrants often work in jobs that are known as dirty, demanding, and dangerous. Globally, the agricultural occupations have been associated with the emergence of chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) primarily in outdoor worker populations. The disease has also been reported in immigrants in the United States who work in agricultural occupations, but little research has been done outside of agricultural workers to determine whether immigrants who work other occupations are at risk for developing CKDu. Methods: This study assessed the self-reported occupational histories of undocumented immigrants receiving frequent, emergent-only dialysis in Atlanta, GA. We assessed demographics, employment status, and work history, using the Grady Dialysis Questionnaire and the Occupational/Environmental Health History Form.

Stayin’ Alive in Little 5: Application of Sentiment Analysis to Investigate Emotions of Service Industry Workers Responding to Drug Overdoses

Environmental Research and Public Health

2022 The opioid epidemic has increasingly been recognized as a public health issue and has challenged our current legal, social, and ethical beliefs regarding drug use. The epidemic not only impacts persons who use drugs, but also those around them, including people who do not expect to witness an overdose. For example, in the commercial district of Little 5 Points, Atlanta, GA, many service industry workers have become de facto responders to opioid overdoses when a person experiences an opioid-involved overdose in their place of employment. To provide additional insights into >300 pages of interview data collected from service industry workers that have responded to an opioid overdose while at work, we utilized a mixed-methods approach to conduct this sentiment analysis. First, using R version 4.2.1, a data-science based textual analytic approach was applied to the interview data.

view more

It's what the community demands: Results of community-based emergency opioid overdose trainings

Public Health Nursing

2022 Objectives In response to a surge of drug overdoses involving polysubstance use among Atlanta service industry workers that resulted in the deaths of five people in the Atlanta area in the summer of 2021, a local community of harm reductionists and nurses organized opioid education and naloxone distribution (OEND) training sessions specifically customized for service industry workers in Atlanta. After the sessions, the nurses and harm reductionists asked attendants to participate in a study concerning their response to overdoses. The reason nurses and harm reductionists conducted the study was to determine the efficacy of OEND training adapted for those working in the service industries as well as to evaluate and possibly modify the training sessions for future use.

view more

The need for data management standards in public health nursing: A narrative review and case study

Public Health Nursing

2022 Background Data management is the key to the success of all projects and research. The ability to safely store, manipulate, and decipher data in real time is invaluable. Currently data management standards in public health are non-existent. Since the invention of computers real-time data retrieval and analysis has been possible but underutilized by researchers in the field. Historically, most small research studies and field-based projects have utilized spreadsheets for data management, which often proves problematic as the project grows. However, a viable and superior alternative exists in relational databases, such as REDCap. Relational databases allow for easier concatenation of multiple legacy datasets, facilitate data entry with surveys that incorporate branching logic, and allow for real time data entry in the field without the need for WIFI.

Using Twitter for Nursing Research: A Tweet Analysis on Heat Illness and Health

Journal of Nursing Research

2021 Aim To provide an example of a tweet analysis for nurse researchers using Twitter in their research. Design A content analysis using tweets about “heat illness + health.” Methods Tweets were pulled from Twitter’s application programming interface with premium access using Postman and the key words “heat illness + health.” All data cleaning and analysis was performed in R Version 3.5.2, and the tweet set was analyzed for term frequency, sentiment, and topic modeling. Principal R packages included LDAvis, tidytext, tm, and zyuzhet.

view more