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95th Annual Fall Conference Visiting Speakers
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Featured Speakers


Healthcare and Homeland Security
Alexander Garza, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer, SSM Health, St. Louis, MO

Alexander Garza, MD, MPH, as chief medical officer for SSM Health in St. Louis. In this role, Dr. Garza oversees medical staff affairs, patient safety/quality and clinical resource management across SSM Health’s eight St. Louis Hospitals.

Dr. Garza comes to SSM Health from Saint Louis University where he was an associate dean for public health practice and associate professor of epidemiology at SLU’s College for Public Health and Social Justice since 2013. Prior to that, he served as assistant secretary and chief medical officer to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), an appointment he received from President Barack Obama in 2009. He legislated health, medical and biodefense authority for the DHS and played a critical role in protecting the United States from threats of terrorism. During his time with the DHS, he led their response to the H1N1 flu pandemic, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and internationally led the U.S. response to 2010’s earthquake in Haiti and 2011’s tsunami in Japan.

Dr. Garza began his career as an emergency responder, working as a flight paramedic and EMT before practicing emergency medicine at several institutions across the country including Georgetown University School of Medicine, the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. During that time he also had leadership roles with health departments in Kansas City and the state of New Mexico.

In addition, Dr. Garza is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) as preventative medicine officer, command surgeon and public health team chief. Among his USAR deployments were serving as public health chief during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Flintlock in Dakar, Senegal. His efforts have earned Dr. Garza numerous military awards and decorations.

A graduate of the University of Missouri - Columbia School of Medicine, Dr. Garza holds a Master of Public Health from the Saint Louis University School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Missouri - Kansas City.

Practicing Medicine: Past, Present and Future
David O. Barbe, MD, MHA
President, American Medical Association


 David O. Barbe, MD, MHA, a board-certified family physician from Mountain Grove, Mo., became president of the American Medical Association in June 2017. He has been a member of the AMA Board of Trustees (BOT) since June 2009. Dr. Barbe has a long history of service to organized medicine. He has been a member of the AMA, the Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA) and the American Academy of Family Physicians for 30 years. He has served on the MSMA board continuously for more than 25 years, serving as chair in 2003 and president in 2005. He was a delegate from Missouri  to the AMA from 1997 to 2009 and is past chair of  the delegation.

Prior to his election to the AMA-BOT, Dr. Barbe was elected to two terms on the AMA Council on Medical Service, serving as its chair from June 2008 to June 2009. As a member of the council, Dr. Barbe participated in the development of much of the AMA policy related to coverage of the uninsured, health care system reform, Medicare reform and health insurance market reform.

Dr. Barbe has served on numerous AMA committees and task forces. He served as chair of the AMA-BOT from 2013–2014, as well as a member of its Executive Committee from 2011–2015. At the state level, Dr. Barbe has been a longtime member of MSMA’s legislative committee and a board member of the Missouri Medical Political Action Committee. Dr. Barbe received his bachelor’s degree with honors in microbiology and his medical doctorate from the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Medicine.

He completed his residency in family medicine at the University of Kansas affiliated program (now Via Christi) in Wichita, Kan. He also received his Master of Health Administration from the University of Missouri–Columbia.

Following residency, Dr. Barbe returned to his hometown of Mountain Grove in rural southern Missouri and established a solo practice in traditional family medicine, including obstetrics, endoscopy and minor surgery. Over time, Dr. Barbe expanded his independent practice to two sites and several physicians. After 15 years in independent practice he merged his group with Mercy, Springfield, Mo., a 650-physician multi-specialty integrated health system. He now serves as vice president of regional operations for Mercy with responsibility for five hospitals, 75 clinics and more than 200 physicians and advanced practitioners. Mercy was named one of the top five large health systems in the nation in 2017 by Truven Health.

Dr. Barbe continues to live and practice in his hometown of Mountain Grove. He and his wife, Debbie, BSN, RN, have two children and six grandchildren.

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