Karen L. Smith, MD, FAAFP, a family physician in Raeford, North Carolina, is a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Family Physicians. The AAFP represents 129,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. As an AAFP board member, Smith advocates on behalf of family physicians and patients to inspire positive change in the U.S. health care system.
After serving patients at a rural health center in partnership with Cape Valley Health system and then as medical director for a system-based regional practice with FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Smith established her own independent private practice in 2003. She and her dedicated staff provide comprehensive family medicine.
A member of the AAFP since 1989, Smith has served as chair of the Commission on Governmental Advocacy and chair of the Congress of Delegates Reference Committee on Practice Enhancement. Her personal, clinical, and professional excellence was recognized n 2017 when Smith was named the AAFP Family Physician of the Year.
At the chapter level, Smith has served as president board chair of the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians. Smith has also been active at the state and national levels, including the North Carolina Medical Society Board of Directors and North Carolina delegate for the American Medical Association. She also serves on the North Carolina Hospital Association’s Rural Health Advisory Board, and as a CMS Quality Physician Payment Program Champion. She is an active member of the Old North State Medical Society and active with the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and Alliant Quality Improvement. She was also chair of the Health Disparities Council.
She was awarded the 2023 North Carolina Rural Leadership Award, which celebrates outstanding leaders who have made a significant impact on North Carolina's rural communities. Smith is also often consulted for her expertise on practice technology, value-based payment, opioid use disorder and rural health care issues, among others.
Smith has also served as adjunct clinical instructor in the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health at Duke University, adjunct instructor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and adjunct instructor in the Division of Health Sciences at East Carolina University.
Smith earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. She earned her medical degree from the Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. She completed her residency at the Duke University/FAHEC (SRAHEC) 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.