Staff Care Selects Keith Morrow, DOS, 2011 Country Doctor of the Year

January 9, 2012 - When an E-F5 tornado devastated the town of Hackleburg, Ala., including both his medical offices, Dr. Keith Morrow, DOS, continued to do what he has done for over 25 years--treat patients and serve as a pillar of his community.

For his extraordinary devotion and compassion, Staff Care has selected Dr. Morrow the 2011 Country Doctor of the Year. Staff Care, the leading temporary physician staffing firm in the United States, has presented the Country Doctor of the Year Award since 1992, in order to recognize the spirit, skill, and dedication of America’s rural medical practitioners. By doing so, we hope that younger physicians will be inspired to serve as country doctors, maintaining a time-honored tradition that is danger of dying out.

Dr. Morrow was selected for the 2011 award for his key role as a caregiver in Hackleburg, both before and after the town of just over 1,400 residents was almost entirely demolished by the tornado that struck in April 2011.

After completing his medical training in 1985, Dr. Morrow returned to practice in the area where he grew up, an economically challenged section of northern Alabama where virtually all of his patients depend on Medicare or Medicaid. For 25 years, he has seen an average of some 50 patients per day, treating all comers regardless of ability to pay, and often paying out of his own pocket to ensure his patients receive appropriate treatment. On call day and night, he is known for his “car hops”--consulting with patients who have mobility problems in the parking lot of his two offices.

Two days after the tornado that devastated Hackleburg and killed 28 local residents, Dr. Morrow began practicing out of tents pitched near the site of one of his former offices. Later, a local soft drink distributor donated the trailer of an 18-wheeler for Dr. Morrow’s use. Converted into a medical office with improvised exam rooms, the trailer continues to serve as Dr. Morrow’s office, and is filled every day with patients. Instead of relocating to a community with fewer challenges, as some might have done, Dr. Morrow is rebuilding his offices and has vowed to stay in Hackleburg and continue to lead its recovery.

As the 2011 Country Doctor of the Year, Dr. Morrow will be able to enjoy two weeks of time off, as Staff Care will provide a temporary physician to fill in for him at no charge, a service valued at approximately $10,000. He also will receive the award’s signature plaque featuring a country doctor making his rounds on a horse and buggy, an engraved stethoscope, and a monogrammed lab coat. Additional information about the Country Doctor of the Year Award, including a nomination form for the 2012 award, can be found at http://www.countrydoctoraward.com

We welcome anyone who knows a great country doctor to submit a nomination.


Tim Boes serves as president of Staff Care, the nation’s leading locum tenens staffing firm and a company of AMN Healthcare, the largest health care staffing organization in the United States.