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ABA Citizen of the Year for 2022: State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris

Alabama Broadcasters Association
2022 Citizen of the Year
Dr. Scott Harris
State Health Officer
Alabama Department of Public Health

Scott Harris, MD, MPH, will be honored as the ABA’s 2022 Citizen of the Year at the Friday, August 12th luncheon during the Association’s Annual Conference at Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa. The ABA has selected Dr. Harris for ongoing public service, including his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The purpose of this award is to honor and pay tribute to a citizen of Alabama for outstanding contributions to the well being, prosperity and progress of the state. It recognizes distinguished and honorable public service. It honors those who have enhanced and enriched the lives of Alabamians by leadership and unselfish service to his or her community and the state.

The award is meant to recognize outstanding contributions to education, business, professional, civic, philanthropic or religious ideals that have benefited Alabama citizens. It is not devoted to one single achievement in a specific year but, is designed to award continuing service and leadership.

Dr. Harris was appointed Acting State Health Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) in September 2017 and formally designated as Alabama’s 12th State Health Officer in February 2018. A graduate of Harding University in Arkansas, Dr. Harris attended medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine and served an internal medicine internship and residency at Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham before returning to UAB to complete a fellowship in adult infectious diseases. He earned his MPH from the UAB School of Public Health.

In 1996, he began his practice in general infectious diseases and HIV medicine in Decatur, Alabama, and also began service as a tuberculosis consultant with ADPH. In 2004, he helped to establish the Decatur Morgan Community Free Clinic, serving thirteen years as medical director, as well as a board member and board chair. The non-profit clinic offers health care and dental care at no charge to low income, medically uninsured residents, and relies heavily on community volunteers.

A volunteer physician himself, Dr. Harris has served on many international medical missions to Central America, South America, and Africa. In additional to his board certification in internal medicine and infectious disease, he has additional certificates of qualification in tropical medicine from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and in travel medicine from the International Society of Travel
Medicine.

Dr. Harris left private practice to join ADPH in 2015 as Area Health Officer for seven North Alabama counties, before assuming his current role as State Health Officer.

ABA Citizens of the Year

The purpose of this award is to honor and pay tribute to a citizen of Alabama for distinguished and honorable public service, and outstanding
contributions to the well being, prosperity and progress of the state.

ABA’s Citizen of the Year is someone who has enhanced and enriched the
lives of Alabamians by leadership and unselfish service to his or her
community and the state.  This leadership can be recognition of
outstanding contributions to education, business, professional, civic,
philanthropic or religious ideals that have benefited Alabama citizens.

While the award itself carries a date, it is not primarily devoted to
one single achievement in a specific year. It is designed to award
continuing service and leadership.

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