Professor Cartwright-Smith is an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management and Program Director for the MPH in Health Policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health (SPH) at The George Washington University (GW). She maintains a research portfolio focusing on legal issues related to health system reform, particularly policies to facilitate the use and exchange of health information while protecting privacy. She co-directs the Health Information & the Law project, which aims to inform and empower providers, consumers, payers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to understand and navigate federal and state laws and regulations that may be perceived or real barriers to health system transformation.

An interest in applied ethics, particularly bioethics and social justice, first drew Professor Cartwright-Smith to law school and informs her health policy work at GW SPH. Past research projects have focused on equity, health care quality, and health system change. As co-author of a chartbook on racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care, Professor Cartwright-Smith helped to create a substantial resource for students, policymakers, researchers, and practitioners.

Before joining GW SPH as research staff in 2006 (becoming a faculty member in 2008), Professor Cartwright-Smith practiced law in a small, public-interest law firm in Washington that specialized in environmental and civil rights litigation. She has also been a law clerk for a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice and a staff attorney for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. At law school, she helped to launch the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, and served as an editor of its first volume.