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

Scott Harris (ABA)State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris was honored as the Alabama Broadcasters Association (ABA) 2022 Citizen of the Year. The award was presented August 12 during the association’s annual conference at Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa in Hoover.

The ABA selected Dr. Harris for his ongoing public service, including his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ABA states, "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."

Dr. Harris' public service began long before joining the Alabama Department of Public Health in 2015. In 2004, Dr. Harris helped to establish the Decatur Morgan Community Free Clinic, serving 13 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.

As a volunteer physician himself, Dr. Harris has served on many international medical missions to Central America, South America, and Africa. In addition 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.

According to ABA, 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.

Scott Harris (ABA Group)

Celebrating at the ABA presentation, left to right, are Southeastern District Administrator Corey Kirkland, Southwestern District Administrator Chad Kent, Medical Officer for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Burnestine Taylor, Retired Former Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mary McIntyre, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Karen Landers, Dr. Harris, Northern District Administrator Judy Smith, West Central District Administrator Stacey Adams, Northeastern District Administrator Mary Gomillion, and East Central District Administrator Tim Hatch.