Freeman Physician Receives MOCAN Healthcare Professional Award

Dr. Henry Petry Honored for Excellence in Connecting Health to the Community

Image Credit: Freeman Health System

(Joplin, MO) – The Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition (MOCAN) awarded the 9th Annual MOCAN Healthcare Professional Award to Dr. Henry Petry, Freeman Center for Geriatric Medicine Medical Director on October 15. This award recognizes Dr. Petry for demonstrating leadership in promoting an initiative in his community for active living, healthy eating, or obesity prevention. 

“It’s overwhelming,” said Dr. Petry. “I’m being recognized for doing things that, as a physician, I should always be doing.”

Sarah Hampl, MD, Children’s Mercy Center for Children’s Health Lifestyles & Nutrition, presented the award. Dr. Petry then shared highlights of his work with the MOCAN group in a Zoom conference call.

Dr. Petry has more than 50 years’ experience in caring for individuals in the region. His approach focuses on mind, body, and spirit. He motivates his patients to practice good self-care from head to toe and emphasizes preventative health strategies such as proper diet and exercise. Dr. Petry also promotes healthy eating and active living at every visit with his more than 500 patients.

“After World War II, our nation became focused on eating fast,” said Petry. “But fast food isn’t usually a good diet. Children today are eating foods that put them on the path to diabetes and heart disease. I don’t like to call it dieting but meal planning to make sure you eat right. And exercise is important for everyone. The body is designed to function and move, so if you become a couch potato, that is when problems develop.”

On his days off, Dr. Petry continues his commitment to community health education. Every Wednesday, he teaches an hour-long exercise class to more than 15 seniors at the Carl Junction Community Center. He leads aerobic dancing, weightlifting with low weights, calisthenics, and other unique ways to exercise. After class, he spends time answering questions about topics ranging from food and nutrition to what shoes to wear while exercising.

Freeman Health System’s Center for Geriatric Medicine provides comprehensive medical assessments for senior health. Supported by resources only a hospital-based provider can supply, specialists and services are in one location, providing easy access for patients, families, and caregivers. Freeman Center for Geriatric Medicine treats the whole person and can help with issues such as mobility, memory disorders, medication, and wellness.

About MOCAN: 

MOCAN is a coalition comprised of representatives from statewide and local agencies, institutions, organizations, and other groups or individuals who work together to advance the goals and objectives of the statewide plan, Preventing Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases, Missouri’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan.

About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit


Lisa Olliges, Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator
Freeman Health System

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