Dorothy Smith-Ruiz

Associate Professor, Sociology
Garinger 130

Dr. Dorothy Smith-Ruiz is an Associate Professor in the Africana Studies Department and adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology. Dr. Ruiz has completed two NIA postdoctoral fellowships; one at the Yale University School of Epidemiology and Public Health (1981-1983), and the other at Duke University Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development (1998-2001). As a Fulbright Scholar, she traveled to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal to study their political and economic problems.


  • Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • M.A., Michigan State University
  • B.A., Fort Valley State University


Recent Publications:

Amazing Grace:  African American Grandmothers as Caregivers and Conveyers of Traditional Values (Praeger, 2004)

The Handbook of Mental Health and Mental Disorder Among Black Americans (Greenwood, 1991)

Current Projects: 
Transnational families; African-American grandmothers in the 21st century; permanent role transition and altered family structure; grandparent caregiving for children and youth with chronic disease; the impact of incarceration on family caregiving for minor children.

Courses Taught:

  • Coping and caregiving among African-American grandmothers with specific emphasis on caring for children with health issues and whose parents are incarcerated.
  • Physical health, depression, stress and life satisfaction in relation to custodial caregiving
  • Impact of mental health and mental disorder in African-American populations. 
  • Majority/Minority Relations
  • Sociology of Aging
  • Black Families in the United States
  • Introduction to Africana Studies
  • Black Families in the Diaspora
  • Values in Racial Perspectives
  • Introduction to Human Relations