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A Doctor for All Seasons and Terrains

Ken Jackson is dedicated to rural health care

You could call Ken Jackson a doc-of-all-trades. He treats Medicare patients, delivers babies and performs circumcisions, vasectomies and breast biopsies. But that's not all.

Once a month, the 62-year-old family physician drives 130 miles from Kingman, Ariz., to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, then rides a horse two hours to a Native American village deep in the canyon to provide prenatal care. During the winter, he travels by helicopter to reach the area. Twice a month he also provides prenatal care to another tribe closer to home.

"I love my work," he says. "It makes me feel worthy."

Because of Jackson's dedication to rural health care, Staff Care, a temporary staffing service for health care professionals, has named him 2010 Country Doctor of the Year. The award recognizes outstanding practitioners in communities of 30,000 or fewer residents. As the winner, he can take two weeks off while Staff Care offers complimentary physician coverage.

Of his busy practice, Jackson says, "We're rocking and rolling every day." So his trips to the canyon are a welcome change of pace.

Jackson says he has a special fondness for his older patients, who are "like extended family to me. I literally cherish those interactions."

Susan Kreimer writes about health and medicine.

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