Hoke physician receives 2023 Larry Wooten Rural Leadership Award

RALEIGH — Last week, Dr. Karen L. Smith, who has been a private practice physician in Hoke County, received the 2023 Larry Wooten Rural Leadership Award. This prestigious acknowledgment was presented by Governor Roy Cooper and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler at a reception at the North Carolina Executive Mansion.

Smith, who has served the people of Hoke County for 30 years, has worked tirelessly to improve access to quality healthcare services for residents of rural communities, including efforts to prevent diabetes and expand telehealth.

Her pioneering work to implement innovative healthcare programs and advocate for policies that address the unique healthcare challenges faced by rural areas has made a profound difference in the lives of countless individuals.

In addition to her work as a physician, Smith has served in numerous leadership roles, including as president of the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians and the North Carolina Medical Society Board of Directors, as well as an elected board member of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Prior to receiving this rural leadership award, Smith was also recognized in 2016 as the North Carolina Family Physician of the Year and the 2017 American Academy Family Physician of the Year.

“Dr. Karen L. Smith’s commitment to advance rural health in North Carolina is truly commendable,” said Governor Cooper. “Her dedication to ensuring that all North Carolina residents have access to quality healthcare has made a significant impact on rural communities. We are proud to honor Dr. Smith, with agricultural leader L.T. Ward, with the Larry Wooten Rural Leadership Award for their exceptional contributions.”