Karen Harris: Spirit of Gainesville nominee


Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 5:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 5:07 p.m.

Karen Harris is a health professional who works tirelessly for her patients’ well being. A practicing obstetrician for 20 years, she guided hundreds of North Central Florida women through their pregnancies and the delivery of their babies. Her nurturing presence reassured each of them that they not only had an expert, highly skilled physician managing their pregnancy, but that they also had a woman who cared deeply for each of them. They knew that she wanted the absolute best for both them and their babies and would work tirelessly to achieve just that. Dr. Harris continues her gynecology practice as part of the North Florida Women’s Physicians where she began practicing medicine in 1989. She has been President of this 10-physician single-specialty Ob/Gyn private practice group since 2001.

Facts

Category: Medicine

About Karen Harris

Occupation: Physician

Years in Gainesville: 28

Spouse Andrew J. Evans, Ph.D.

Children Wesley and Sarah Evans

Karen became involved in the Florida Obstetric and Gynecologic Society in 1993, becoming its first female president in 2000. She is currently serving a second term as president of this professional group. In addition, she served for 10 years on the Board of Directors of the Alachua County Medical Society and was its President in 2002-2003. Dr. Harris has been a leader in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for many years and currently serves as Vice-Chair of ACOG District XII which covers all of Florida. Recently, she was named the Medical Director of Quality Assurance and Patient Safety of a 270-member Ob/Gyn group in Florida.

Understanding that there is more that must be done for women and children in addition to providing them with quality healthcare, Karen Harris returned to the University of Florida to further her education in women’s health care policy. Physicians who continue their practices while undertaking additional graduate studies are few and far between! Karen’s desire to make things better for women and their babies led her to undertake this quest. She received her Master’s in Public Health in 2010. Her research included a needs assessment that looked at Gainesville neighborhoods to determine links between environmental conditions and poor birth outcomes, all aimed at finding ways to help north Florida families have healthier babies.

Karen’s passion for healthier babies has naturally led her to become a part of other community organizations. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Healthy Start of North Central Florida Coalition. Her service to, and through, the March of Dimes is extensive. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the March of Dimes North Central Florida Division. Statewide, she chairs the Florida Chapter Prematurity Workgroup and has just begun a term as Chair of the Florida Chapter State Program Services Committee and a member of the Florida Chapter Board of Directors. As a member of the March of Dimes Speakers’ Bureau, she has lectured extensively in Florida and other states on improving the health of babies by the Elimination of Early, Elective Deliveries.

Outside of the medical community, Karen Harris gives countless hours as a Girl Scout leader. In 2005, she was named “Outstanding Leader Girl Scouts of the USA” and in 2009 “Exceptional Leader Girl Scouts of the USA.” In 2012, she received the Gateway Council Sustaining the Mission Award for the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America. The Gateway Council serves more than 25,000 girls in North Florida. As a Girl Scout leader, Karen has had more than 300 girls go through the program under her leadership. She currently supervises 70 girls. In 2010 and 2012, she led trips for her troop to London for tours of England and Paris.

The fruit of Dr. Harris’ labors and her contributions to our community will live on for generations in the babies she helped bring into the world and the young women whose lives she has helped to shape. It will live on in the improved conditions and opportunities for women and children in North Central Florida. As a physician and a community leader, Karen Harris embodies the Girl Scout Law to be “honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong,” and “to make the world a better place.” This is why Dr. Karen Harris exemplifies the Spirit of Gainesville and is so deserving of this recognition!

Nominated by Donna Poynor

Karen Harris is a health professional who works tirelessly for her patients’ well being. A practicing obstetrician for 20 years, she guided hundreds of North Central Florida women through their pregnancies and the delivery of their babies. Her nurturing presence reassured each of them that they not only had an expert, highly skilled physician managing their pregnancy, but that they also had a woman who cared deeply for each of them. They knew that she wanted the absolute best for both them and their babies and would work tirelessly to achieve just that. Dr. Harris continues her gynecology practice as part of the North Florida Women’s Physicians where she began practicing medicine in 1989. She has been President of this 10-physician single-specialty Ob/Gyn private practice group since 2001.

Karen became involved in the Florida Obstetric and Gynecologic Society in 1993, becoming its first female president in 2000. She is currently serving a second term as president of this professional group. In addition, she served for 10 years on the Board of Directors of the Alachua County Medical Society and was its President in 2002-2003. Dr. Harris has been a leader in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for many years and currently serves as Vice-Chair of ACOG District XII which covers all of Florida. Recently, she was named the Medical Director of Quality Assurance and Patient Safety of a 270-member Ob/Gyn group in Florida.

Understanding that there is more that must be done for women and children in addition to providing them with quality healthcare, Karen Harris returned to the University of Florida to further her education in women’s health care policy. Physicians who continue their practices while undertaking additional graduate studies are few and far between! Karen’s desire to make things better for women and their babies led her to undertake this quest. She received her Master’s in Public Health in 2010. Her research included a needs assessment that looked at Gainesville neighborhoods to determine links between environmental conditions and poor birth outcomes, all aimed at finding ways to help north Florida families have healthier babies.

Karen’s passion for healthier babies has naturally led her to become a part of other community organizations. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Healthy Start of North Central Florida Coalition. Her service to, and through, the March of Dimes is extensive. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the March of Dimes North Central Florida Division. Statewide, she chairs the Florida Chapter Prematurity Workgroup and has just begun a term as Chair of the Florida Chapter State Program Services Committee and a member of the Florida Chapter Board of Directors. As a member of the March of Dimes Speakers’ Bureau, she has lectured extensively in Florida and other states on improving the health of babies by the Elimination of Early, Elective Deliveries.

Outside of the medical community, Karen Harris gives countless hours as a Girl Scout leader. In 2005, she was named “Outstanding Leader Girl Scouts of the USA” and in 2009 “Exceptional Leader Girl Scouts of the USA.” In 2012, she received the Gateway Council Sustaining the Mission Award for the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America. The Gateway Council serves more than 25,000 girls in North Florida. As a Girl Scout leader, Karen has had more than 300 girls go through the program under her leadership. She currently supervises 70 girls. In 2010 and 2012, she led trips for her troop to London for tours of England and Paris.

The fruit of Dr. Harris’ labors and her contributions to our community will live on for generations in the babies she helped bring into the world and the young women whose lives she has helped to shape. It will live on in the improved conditions and opportunities for women and children in North Central Florida. As a physician and a community leader, Karen Harris embodies the Girl Scout Law to be “honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong,” and “to make the world a better place.” This is why Dr. Karen Harris exemplifies the Spirit of Gainesville and is so deserving of this recognition!

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