American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

2011 Surgical Humanitarian Award: Louis L. Carter

Dr. Carter with the surgical team.

Louis L. Carter, Jr., MD, FACS, of Chattanooga, TN, was presented the 2011 Surgical Humanitarian Award in recognition of a veritable lifetime of service to the underserved spanning nearly five decades, 20 countries, and 74 mission trips. Following his 1964 medical school graduation, he and his new bride, Anne, spent five months at a mission hospital in Tanzania. After residency and two years of military service including a tour in Vietnam, Dr. Carter returned to Africa in 1974 as a board-certified general surgeon. Accompanied by his wife and two children, he served as a full-time medical missionary at Egbe Hospital in Nigeria for seven years. In the early 1980s, Dr. Carter became board certified in plastic surgery to address the reconstructive surgical needs he encountered abroad and was later also certified in hand surgery. He returned to missionary service in Jos, Nigeria, from 1985 to 1987 at Evangel Hospital. From 1987 to 1996, he continued to make frequent visits to remote mission hospitals in Africa and other underserved regions while practicing and serving as a faculty member at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. In 1996, Dr. Carter returned to full-time medical missionary service with Serving In Mission U.S.A. as the sole American full-time missionary plastic and hand surgeon. As part of their “Home Schooling for National and Missionary Doctors” program, he and his wife teach local national and missionary doctors basic techniques in plastic and hand surgery to raise the skill levels of local providers, as well as provide donations of needed books, equipment, and supplies. Dr. Carter has left a legacy of surgeons, nurses, and other medical professionals who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to care for hand injuries, burn contractures, cleft lips and palates, and other correctable debilitating conditions.