Dr. David Barbe is a dedicated hometown doctor. For more than four decades, he has devoted his practice to helping those with the greatest need – and his reach goes well beyond his community. That’s why Dr. Barbe, vice president of regional operations for Mercy Springfield Communities, has received The Missourian Award.
“I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to serve in many capacities on local, state and national levels,” said Dr. Barbe, who wears many hats at Mercy. He oversees five regional hospitals, 90 clinic practices and more than 200 physicians and advanced practitioners in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. While he may span several communities, he’s still committed to his hometown of Mountain Grove.
“I’m really glad that I have been able to maintain a continuous family practice here,” Dr. Barbe said. He has served the community at Mercy Clinic Family Medicine – Mountain Grove since 1983, following an independent practice of 15 years. “It keeps me reminded of why I do this. The most rewarding part is still the patient care, and improving the health of community members.”
“He’s an outstanding person,” said practice manager Lois Flageolle, who has worked alongside Dr. Barbe for more than 30 years. “He’s involved in so many important things and gives to the community in so many ways, and still keeps the patients as a top priority. He’s absolutely committed to advancing services and his availability for patients in the regional areas.”
“I grew up in Mountain Grove and married my high school sweetheart,” Dr. Barbe added. “She’s very supportive, and together we knew we wanted to stay here and help such an underserved area. We saw this as a mission, to improve the medical care in this area.”
The Missourian Award acknowledges the most accomplished citizens of Missouri; recipients are selected by a committee. While most winners are native to the state, under exceptional circumstances a person may qualify after living in Missouri for at least 15 years. Nominees have made an outstanding contribution to the state or nation. Past award recipients include Walt Disney, Walter Cronkite and John Q. Hammons.
“It is a great honor and very humbling to be considered among that group,” Dr. Barbe said, a past chairman of the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees and 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. In 2016, he will be a candidate for president-elect of the AMA.
Dr. Barbe has also been a member of the Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA) for more than 20 years, serving as chair in 2003 and president in 2005. He has also been a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians for more than 30 years. In 1993, Dr. Barbe was honored with the Missouri Family Physician of the Year. Ten years later, Dr. Barbe received the Distinguished Service Award from his alma mater, the University of Missouri – School of Medicine.
“My experience with Mercy as a leading health system has been beneficial to the organizations I’m involved in,” Dr. Barbe said. “In turn, that’s been beneficial to Mercy as I bring perspective from different settings. It’s helped us build a more productive environment in which our physicians can practice and provide better care for our patients.”
This year’s Missourian Awards were presented Aug. 15 at Chateau on the Lake Resort Spa & Convention Center in Branson, Missouri.