MVP Magazine – Dr. Frank Merritt
Health Care Leaders: Dr. Frank Merritt
Dr. Frank Merritt grew up in Enterprise, Alabama, and frequented Panama City Beach often as a youth on vacation with his family. The road back to Bay County would include college in Arkansas and California, then medical school and residency in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2001, he began practicing emergency medicine in Dothan, Alabama, and later, in 2002, he and his wife, Regina bought their first beach home on Panama City Beach. In addition to his emergency practice, Dr. Merritt spent the next seven years traveling and working with a wide array of athletes and organizations including pro surfing, Ironman, and NASCAR.
Dr. Merritt became a full-time resident of Panama City Beach in 2009 when he began practicing emergency medicine for Bay Medical Sacred Heart Hospital. During his time as an emergency physician at Bay Medical, he has also served as assistant medical director and medical director of the emergency department.
In 2015, Dr. Merritt cut back to part-time in the ER in order to restart a research project on the brain that began as part of a promise he made to his best friend in 2009, shortly before his friend died of brain cancer. This research effort quickly grew into a company named VitalityPro, which is focused on the research and development of new health and performance modalities, techniques and systems. VitalityPro’s “collaborative, cooperative and integrative” style is refreshing and boasts of contributions from experts from wide, diverse and eclectic backgrounds and disciplines. Its ability to synthesize highly simplistic and functional approaches to wellness is unique.
Even though research and development is the primary focus, Dr. Merritt believes it’s imperative that VitalityPro host a number of “camps” which help with integration logistics of the research. With local participants as well as a growing clientele from other states and countries, these camps, along with the research, are gaining attention from around the globe. The camps’ unorthodox training includes scientifically calculated and synchronized activities such as ice baths, water weight training as well as cognitive and psychological games in order to provide a true mind, body, and soul experience. Even though some of this may sound extreme, Dr. Merritt assures that each participant, whether a Navy diver, college or pro athlete, or a cardiac patient in their 70’s, participates at his or her own level, improves their health and has a lot of fun. The enthusiasm and passion of these camps is palpable.
This professional dichotomy allows Dr. Merritt the ability to impact people’s health on two different fronts. At VitalityPro, he directs the company in developing and delivering innovative, preventative “lifestyle modifications” that can better mitigate many diseases including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, to name a few. In the ER, he, along with a dedicated medical team, deliver lifesaving care in the hour of need when disease process intensifies. He laughingly says, “I’m the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of wellness”. In his spare time, Dr. Merritt enjoys being active with
his wife, Regina, and their two young boys, Samuel and Levi. They enjoy surfing, SUPing, kayak fishing, swimming, running, gardening or playing football on their miniature “Alabama Football Field”. They emphasize spending this time together as much as possible to create quality family time. Their family is
devoted to many community, charitable, and faithbased activities in Bay County, including chairing the Gulf Coast State College gala in 2016, the American Heart Association gala in 2017 and presently chairing the Covenant Hospice gala for 2018. Additionally, Dr. Merritt serves on the boards of the Bay Health Foundation and Alignment Bay County.
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