2022 Champions of Health Care: Dr. Mitchell Mutter, lifetime achievement

Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Dr. Mitchell Mutter sits outside Canopy Coffee Shop in Chattanooga. Mutter is a 2022 Champions of Health Care Lifetime Achievement award winner.

What began in 1988 as a mission trip to the poverty-stricken island nation of Haiti became a passion for Chattanooga cardiologist Dr. Mitchell Mutter.

Over time, the trips became more frequent -- from once or twice a year to as many as five times annually, he says. He founded the Children's Nutrition Program of Haiti to help meet the medical needs of the nation and its children.

Mutter, who is a Champions of Health Care award recipient for "lifetime achievement," also says each of his three sons saw first-hand the needs of the Caribbean country when they turned 12 years old.

"It was a rite of manhood," he said in an interview. "They got to see the rest of the world."

The 75-year-old physician is medical director of Volunteers in Medicine in Chattanooga, a free clinic for primary and specialty care provided to indigent patients.