MOUNTAIN GROVE, Mo., June 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dr. David Barbe has spent decades looking out for the health of his rural Missouri community. Today, he's changing lives on a national scale, as president-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA).
"This is a tremendous honor and privilege," said Dr. Barbe, vice president of regional operations for Mercy Springfield Communities. This week, fellow physicians selected him to serve as AMA president-elect through June 2017; at that point, he'll assume the full role as president.
"I'm eager to continue the strong work of the AMA in shaping health care in the United States," said Dr. Barbe, who will become the first AMA president from Mercy, and the first from Missouri in 80 years. "I'm very excited to bring my experience as a leader and a hometown doctor at Mercy to the table."
Dr. Barbe oversees five regional, rural Mercy hospitals, 90 clinic practices and more than 200 physicians and advanced practitioners in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas, all while seeing patients at Mercy Clinic Family Medicine – Mountain Grove. He's been practicing medicine since 1983 in the community of nearly 5,000 people. Those decades of dedication turned patients into lifelong friends.
"He's more than just a doctor," said patient Glen Kemper. "He's involved in the community on many levels, and he's involved in our lives, too. Last fall, I lost my wife of 60 years and he was by my side through it all."
Patient Lee Ann Roark had a similar situation. "When I had my kidney transplant in St. Louis, he traveled there with my family and joined us at the hospital. He's selfless and inspires everyone to be better people."
Dr. Barbe has served as AMA chairman of the board of trustees, as well as a delegate from 1997 to 2009. He served two terms on the AMA Council on Medical Service; as chairman, he participated in the development of much of the AMA policy on coverage of the uninsured, health care system reform, Medicare reform and health insurance market reform.
"With it being an election year, it's such an important time for health care," Dr. Barbe said. "We're going to work hard to improve upon the Affordable Care Act and meet the needs of patients and doctors today, tomorrow and in the future."
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