ST. LOUIS - Mercy Clinic’s own Dr. Beth Zimmer was recently named the 2019 Family Physician of the Year by the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP). She was chosen by a committee of family physicians from nominations made by patients, community members and fellow physicians.
Dr. Zimmer and her husband, Dr. Stanley Carter, DVM, are advocates for suicide prevention after losing their only child, CPL Christopher James Carter, to suicide while on active duty as an Army Ranger at age of 22. They formed a non-profit charitable foundation, the Chris Carter Charity for Life, to support those struggling with mental health issues and those who have experienced human loss. Dr. Zimmer also has voluntarily devoted much effort towards suicide prevention, reducing stigma, promoting mental health wellness and improving suicide care in both the military and civilian populations.
“We [doctors] need to become more comfortable with the topic of suicide to develop the confidence to deliver competent suicidal care,” Dr. Zimmer said in her acceptance speech. “In family medicine, we have a unique role of trusting relationships with our patients. If WE are not screening for and addressing suicidality, who will?”
As a retired Lieutenant Colonel with 22 years of service in the U.S. Army Reserves, Dr. Zimmer has volunteered for many medical mission trips to Peru, China and Belize. She earned her undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Missouri Columbia and trained in the Family Medicine Residency at Mercy Hospital St. Louis where she served as Chief Resident.
For 30 years, Dr. Zimmer has practiced in St. Charles County. She has served on numerous local, state and national medical association committees, as well as military and veteran organizations. She has been recognized for her service to others and to prevent suicide. In January, Dr. Zimmer received the 2018 Greater St Louis Community Health Award from the St. Louis Academy of Family Physicians.
About the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP)
Founded in 1947, the MAFP is a non-profit professional medical society of more than 2,400 physicians, residents and medical students across the state. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that's 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America's underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine's cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
Headquartered in Jefferson City, the MAFP is dedicated to optimizing the health of patients, families, and communities of Missouri through patient care, advocacy, education, and research. The MAFP is a constituent chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), representing over 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. The AAFP is headquartered in Leawood, Kansas.