Alabama has appointed Dr. Scott Harris as the state’s twelfth state health officer, effective February 21. The position looks over 65 local health departments throughout the state.
“I feel honored and privileged that the State Committee of Public Health granted me this opportunity to address the state’s health care needs and challenges,” said Dr. Harris.
Dr. Harris has served residents of Alabama for 19 years, and brings with him the wide range of knowledge and extensive experience that come with that caliber of practice. He graduated from Harding University in Arkansas, and then attended medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine, serving his residency at Carraway Methodist Medical Center. He later returned to UAB to complete a fellowship in infectious diseases, and in 2017 was awarded a master’s degree in public health from the UAB School of Public Health with a concentration in health policy. He also practiced infectious disease medicine at Decatur General Hospital and Parkway Medical Center.
“I care a lot about public health, which I think is true for anybody in the job, but what I’d like to bring to it is the perspective of somebody that’s born and raised here, who spent a couple of decades working in private practice and seeing how that works” Dr. Harris told WHNT.
In 2005, he became medical director at the Decatur-Morgan Community Free Clinic — the non-profit clinic offers health care and dental care at no charge to low income, medically uninsured local residents. Dr. Harris has also served on many international medical missions to Central America, South America and Africa.
He joined the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) as area health officer for seven North Alabama counties in 2015 where has served as acting state health officer for the last six months and currently co-chairs the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council.
The Talladega native is a fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP), Infectious Disease Society of America (FIDSA), and a credentialed HIV specialist, American Academy of HIV Medicine. He also served on the Medical Executive Committee, as medicine department chairman and director of multiple committees including infection control, pharmacy and therapeutics, and the surgical care improvement project at Decatur General Hospital and Parkway Medical Center. He is past chairman and current member of the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation.