dr-karen-smithKaren L. Smith, MD, FAAFP, of Raeford, has been named the 2017 National Family Physician of the Year by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). The award is the most prestigious honor bestowed by the AAFP and honors only one outstanding American family physician each year.
Dr. Smith’s award is the second consecutive year that a North Carolina-based family physician has been chosen for the prestigious honor. She accepted the award at the AAFP Family Medicine Experience in Orlando. Watch her acceptance address here.
The Raleigh News & Observer also named Dr. Smith its “Tar Heel of the Week” on Sunday, Oct. 2. Read the article.
Dr. Smith was selected as the nation’s consummate family physician for her lifelong commitment to improving patient lives and her instrumental efforts in making Hoke County a healthier place to live. Dr. Smith participated in the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Foundation’s Community Practitioner Program beginning in 1999. She has served the citizens of rural Hoke County for more than two decades. Watch a video of Dr. Smith as she explains her care philosophy here.
In 2004, she built a state-of-the-art clinic to serve patients. Her practice was one of the first rural, independent family medicine practices to simultaneously invest in technology such as interactive patient portals and kiosk-based check-ins. Smith has since earned a national reputation as a leading proponent, early adopter and expert in health information technology, such as electronic health records. She also is an aggressive promoter of computer literacy among her patient population. Dr. Smith served on the NCMS’ Health Information Exchange (HIE) Task Force and has been a leader in advocating for a viable statewide HIE.
Alongside her practice, Dr. Smith also serves as medical director and supervising physician of the Hoke County Health Department. She also supports key social service efforts across the region addressing substance abuse issues, food-related health disparities, and working with local youth to deliver after school programs and guidance. She is a trusted public voice within community media, hosting a weekly radio program sharing timely health information. This has been especially beneficial for elderly patients in the region.
At the national level beyond her involvement with the American Academy of Family Physicians, Dr. Smith has been called upon to testify on Capitol Hill regarding the challenges and benefits of electronic health technology, and was named a Meaningful Use Vanguard Fellow by the Office of the National Coordinator.
Smith earned her bachelor’s degree in science from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and her medical degree from the Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She completed her residency at the Duke/Southern Regional Area Health Education Center Family Medicine Residency Program in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Smith is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and has the AAFP Degree of Fellow, an earned degree awarded to family physicians for distinguished service and continuing medical education.
Congratulations Dr. Smith!