William Kennedy Smith

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William Kennedy Smith
Dr. William Kennedy Smith
Commissioner of the D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commission
from district 2A04
Assumed office
January 2, 2015
Preceded by Armando Irizarry
Personal details
Born (1960-09-04) September 4, 1960 (age 58)
Brighton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Anne Henry (m. 2011)
Children 2
Parents Stephen Edward Smith
Jean Ann Kennedy
Education Duke University
M.D. (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Occupation Physician

William Kennedy Smith (born September 4, 1960) is an American physician whose work focuses on landmines and the rehabilitation of landmine victims. He is a member of the prominent Kennedy family and is famous for a well-publicized 1991 rape trial in which he was acquitted.


William Kennedy Smith is the second of four children of Stephen Edward Smith and Jean Kennedy Smith. His mother is the youngest daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. He is a nephew of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and Senator Ted Kennedy. He is the biological brother of Stephen Edward Smith, Jr. and the brother of adopted sisters Kym and Amanda.[1]

Smith married Anne Henry, an arts fundraising consultant, on May 12, 2011 at Tilghman Island, Maryland.[2][3] They have two children, India (born 2012) and Stephen (born 2013).[4]

Early life and education

William Kennedy Smith was born on September 4, 1960 in Brighton, Massachusetts. Smith spent the first years of his life in Washington D.C., while his father worked at the Pentagon during the Kennedy Administration. Later, the family returned to New York, where Smith spent most of his childhood.

Smith attended boarding school at Salisbury School in Salisbury, Connecticut. He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University; completed premedical postbaccalaureate studies at Bryn Mawr College; and, in 1991,[2] received his M.D. degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine.[5]


In 1992, after receiving his M.D. from Georgetown, Smith went to work in Somalia with the International Medical Corps. Smith later completed orthopedic programs in Bosnia, Angola, Mozambique and South Africa, where he worked as a physician in cooperation with the International Medical Corps and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In 1996, Dr. Smith founded Physicians Against Land Mines (PALM). The goal of PALM was to permanently ban the sale and use of antipersonnel and land mines. PALM served as an active partner alongside the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), and in 1997, the ICBL and its partners were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In November 1998, PALM expanded its organizational scope and mission, launching the Chicago-based Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR) that absorbed landmine awareness and advocacy as one of its core programs. The CIR also engaged in educational initiatives and the development of prosthetics technology to improve rehabilitation care for amputees in war-torn areas and in developing countries. The CIR won funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)[6] to operate a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Improved Technology Access for Landmine Survivors that was designated a national center of excellence in rehabilitation engineering. By engineering and disseminating new technologies in prosthetics and orthotics, the RERC was able to greatly improve access to mobility aids for landmine survivors and other amputees.

In 2001, under Smith's leadership, the CIR developed one of the world's first distance learning program in prosthetics, orthotics and amputee care. Harnessing the power of the Internet, the CIR was able to deliver medical education to workers in clinics and hospitals in some of the poorest regions in the world. Using several different kinds of educational materials, including texts, electronic interactive media and face-to-face workshops, courses have been taught in six countries to over 70 students from 30 rehabilitation centers.

In 2003, under Smith's direction, CIR created the International Disability Rights Monitor (IDRM) -- an international grassroots research project designed to document and assess the status of persons with disabilities worldwide in order to promote their full inclusion and participation in society, as well as to advance the use of international humanitarian and disability law to ensure that their rights are respected and enforced. Since its inception, the IDRM has released a series of reports that draw a comparative analysis of living conditions, legal protections, education, employment, accessibility, health and housing services for people with disabilities.

In 2005, Dr. Smith and CIR staff collaborated with engineer Ralf Hotchkiss of Whirlwind Wheelchair International (WWI) to design a new wheelchair appropriate for rugged environments. In the summer of 2005, the team conducted a four-month research study in Kabul, Afghanistan. Local medical professionals received hands-on training in wheelchair assembly and user assessment, fitting and training. When the workshop concluded, participants assembled 100 CIR-Whirlwind Wheelchairs, which were distributed to local users.

Also in 2005, Smith formally launched the International Disability and Education Alliance Network (IDEAnet) website through the CIR. IDEAnet is a global collaboration of individuals and institutions that provide medical services and humanitarian relief. Like the CIR, it has a particular focus on disability in low-income and conflict-affected countries. Its mission is to foster collaborative efforts to use distributed learning and telemedicine to address health disparities and foster effective, sustainable health services.

In 2008, CIR introduced its newest initiative, iCons in Medicine. iCons in Medicine is a global telehealth and humanitarian Internet medicine volunteer alliance that connects health care providers in remote and medically underserved areas with a network of specialty physician volunteers who provide clinical support.

In addition to his humanitarian and medical work, Smith founded Medred, a medical software firm, in 2004.

In 2014, Smith was elected to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Washington D.C.[7]

Activism and awards

Smith is a recipient of the Scholl Recognition Award for Rehabilitation Research. His presentations on the health consequences of land mines and international rehabilitation services and issues have been featured at numerous international conferences, including those of the American Medical Association, Rotary International, and the United Nations Association of the United States of America.

He is a member of the World Health Organization's Informal Working Group on Appropriate Technology for Prosthetics and Orthotics. Smith has also been an active participant in the Victim Assistance Working Group of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, and the Steering Committee of the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines. He is also a past Chair of the working group on post conflict development and disabilities for the National Council on Disabilities. Other professional affiliations include: the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, the Association of Academic Psychiatrists, the Chicago Medical Society, the Illinois State Medical Society, the American Medical Association, the World Medical Association, and the United States Council on International Disabilities.

Legal accusations

1991 sexual assault charge

In 1991, Smith was tried and acquitted on a charge of rape, represented by Miami-based criminal defense attorney Roy Black in a trial that attracted extensive media coverage.[8]

The incident began on the evening of Good Friday, March 29, 1991, when Smith, then 30 years old, was in a bar (named Au Bar) in Palm Beach, Florida, with his uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, and his cousin Patrick J. Kennedy. Smith met Patricia Bowman,[9][10][11] a 29-year-old woman and another young woman at the bar. The five then went to a nearby house owned by the Kennedy family. Smith and the 29-year-old woman walked along the beach. The woman alleged that Smith raped her; Smith testified that they had consensual sex. Although three women were willing to testify that Smith had sexually assaulted them in incidents in the 1980s that were not reported to the police, their testimony was excluded.[12] Smith was acquitted of all charges.[9][10][11]

2004 civil action

In 2004, a former employee of the Center for International Rehabilitation alleged that Smith had sexually assaulted her in 1999, and brought a civil action against him.[13] Smith denied her charges, calling them "outrageous" and saying that "family and personal history have made me unusually vulnerable to these kinds of charges" and resigned from the CIR.[14] On January 5, 2005, the court dismissed the employee's lawsuit.[15]

Later in 2005, Smith settled with another employee who accused him of sexual harassment.[16]

See also


  1. ^ [1] Archived July 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Newell, Becca (15 May 2011). "Making a home in Tilghman". The Star Democrat.
  3. ^ Vozzella, Laura (9 May 2011). "William Kennedy Smith weds on Tilghman Island". The Sun. Baltimore.
  4. ^ Schwartzman, Paul (December 9, 2014). "William Kennedy Smith keeps his focus on improving D.C. and away from '91 rape trial". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  5. ^ "William Kennedy Smith: Biography". Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  6. ^ "William Kennedy Smith, M.D.: Board Member". US International Convention on Disabilities. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04.
  7. ^ Paul Schwartzman (2014-12-09). "William Kennedy Smith keeps his focus on improving D.C. and away from '91 rape trial". Washington Post.
  8. ^ Margolick, David (12 December 1991). "Smith Acquitted of Rape Charge After Brief Deliberation by Jury". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  9. ^ a b Richter, Paul (December 20, 1991). "Smith's Accuser Goes on TV to Defend Herself : Interview: Patricia Bowman says she wants her identity known in order to help rape victims and to fight claims she is psychologically troubled.". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ a b Dunne, Dominick (September 15, 2008). "The Verdict". Vanity Fair.
  11. ^ a b Schwartzman, Paul (December 9, 2014). "William Kennedy Smith keeps his focus on improving D.C. and away from ’91 rape trial". The Washington Post.
  12. ^ David Margolick (1991-12-13). "Why Jury in Smith Case Never Heard From 3 Other Women". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04.
  13. ^ "Kennedy Smith Faces Assault Suit". Los Angeles Times. 2004-08-27. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04.
  14. ^ Francie Grace (2005-01-05). "Kennedy Smith Sex Case Dismissed: His Lawyer Says He's Been Vindicated After False Allegations". CBS News. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04.
  15. ^ "Judge dismisses Kennedy Smith lawsuit: Former personal assistant had alleged he sexually assaulted her". MSNBC. 2005-01-04. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04.
  16. ^ "William Kennedy Smith, Sleazeball |". The Smoking Gun.

External links

  • Raphael Bell. "William Kennedy Smith: A cry in the dark". Court TV. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04.
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