SMART was founded in 1998 by women living with HIV/AIDS at a time when HIV-affected women had little or no access to information or resources devoted to their unique needs. Seeking to fill this vacuum, the women of SMART, led by our founding director Susan Rodriguez, began to amass information and forge alliances with professionals in the fields of health, treatment, law, and social services to create a hub of learning and support.
SMART has since grown into a transformative nonprofit agency where self-identified women gain power and healing through education, self-advocacy, community building, and leadership development. Honing our focus on nutrition education, our SMART philosophy is :
“Food as Treatment and Prevention.”
is to effect positive change in underserved communities of NYC that have the highest rates of HIV infection and have faced the greatest societal barriers. As these communities also suffer from disproportionately high rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses, SMART has expanded its outreach over the past several years to embrace a wider population including but not limited to those living with/affected by HIV/AIDS.
At SMART, we incorporate a comprehensive and holistic approach in addressing the obstacles faced by the people we serve. Our goal is to create a safe, supportive learning environment for all participants. SMART operates with the involvement of top leaders in HIV/AIDS treatment, nutrition, prevention, health and wellness, law, and advocacy. We have developed a focus on nutrition-based education to empower low-income New Yorkers to learn healthy cooking and eating habits and to have access to high-quality affordable foods.