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Andy Harris

Andy Harris, MD has been writing his entire adult life, although this is his debut book.  Over the past 40 years he has written approximately 25 op-ed guest opinions in the Statesman-Journal, Oregonian and Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspapers on a variety of public health and social justice issues.  He has authored many medical and surgical articles for professional journals. For five years he was the monthly medical columnist for Senior News of Mid-Willamette Valley.


Andy took a college elective with preacher and civil rights activist Rev. William Sloane Coffin, was an intern with Franciscan Monk Father Richard Rohr, has taken work-shops with theologian and activist Ched Myers, participated in a 9 month seminar on Servant Leadership led by Cheryl Broetje and Glenn Cross, and trained with Quaker non-violent activist George Lakey, 


Dr. Harris practiced ophthalmology for 32 years in Salem, OR.  He then had a second career at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, as founder and director of Professionals’ Training in Global Health, a course to train health professionals who choose to volunteer in low-income countries.  Graduates of the program have served on hundreds of missions to 58 countries around the world. Dr. Harris has practiced medicine and surgery and taught overseas in Ethiopia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Moldova, India, China, and Mexico. 


The author has been a life-long Presbyterian, except for short stints as a member of Evangelical Covenant, United Methodist, and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  He served three terms on the Session of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Salem, OR, and chaired the New Pastor Search Committee. Currently he is a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR.


For over four decades Dr. Harris has served on the state and national boards of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a non-profit that shared in the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize with International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War.  In 1998 he served as PSR’s national president.

For over four decades Dr. Harris has served on the state and national boards of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), co-winner of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize with International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War.  In 1998 he served as PSR’s national president, speaking at chapters across the country and at the National Press Club. 


As a 12 year board member of Oregon Coalition of Christian Voices, he has helped this education and advocacy organization to promote public policy for the common good at the Oregon Legislature, especially on issues of poverty, hunger, homelessness, health care, economic fairness and environmental stewardship.


He is the founder of the Salem Free Medical Clinic at Trinity Covenant Church in Salem, using the church facility to see patients on Saturdays with a volunteer staff of 30.  He is also the co-founder of a homeless shelter, Salem Outreach Shelter (SOS), providing housing and support services for the homeless.  


In 1985 at the height of the Cold War Dr. Harris and his wife visited Simferopol in the Crimea, part of the former Soviet Union, and co-founded a Sister City relationship between Salem and Simferopol.  The partnership spawned numerous exchange programs including educators, students, musicians, artists, vintners, soccer teams and mountaineers.  


He is a co-founder of the Annual Salem Peace Lecture, promoting speakers and discussion of peace and justice issues, now in its 31st year.  He has served on the advisory boards of Western Oregon University Foundation and the Avel Gordly Center for Healing, which provides mental health services to minority clients.  For five years he was a member of the board of directors of Oregon PeaceWorks, a state-wide peace and justice organization headquartered in Salem.


Currently he is on the advisory board of Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (OADP), where he chairs the Faith Leaders Committee. OADP sponsored legislation has resulted in a restricted use of the death penalty in Oregon with an ultimate goal of abolishing capital punishment in the state.


For five years he mentored a young boy under a youth mentorship program sponsored by Catholic Community Services.  He is also trained as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer to advocate for children from dysfunctional families or in foster care. 

Dr. Harris has volunteered at various free medical clinics, including Salem Free Medical Clinic, Essential Health Clinic (Tigard), Wallace Medical Concern  (Gresham and Portland), SW Community Health Center (Hillsboro), and North by Northeast Community Health Center (Portland).  The medical care for many of these patients was subsequently transferred from free clinics to established clinics after passage of the Affordable Care Act. 


Andy Harris was born in New York City and raised in Princeton, NJ, where he attended Princeton Country Day School and The Lawrenceville School.  He received a BA from Yale University (1964) and a MD degree from the University of Virginia (1969).  He completed an internship in internal medicine and a residency and fellowship in ophthalmology at University of Wisconsin (1974).  For many years he served on the board of the Oregon Academy of Ophthalmology, including stints as the organization’s president and legislative chair.  


Awards include: 

  • Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Broad Street Pump Award (1992) 

  • Oregon Academy of Ophthalmology Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award (1997) 

  • Oregon PSR Peacemaker Award (2006) 

  • Salem Annual Peacemaker Award (2006) 

  • Princeton Day School Alumni Service Award (2007) 

  • Annual Salem Peace Plaza Award (2009) 

  • Encore’s Purpose Prize Fellow Award (2011) 

  • University of Wisconsin Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences’ Distinguished Alumni Award (2019)

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