It’s the new start of a new era at Columbia River Women’s Center.
Retirement and new career opportunities have led to a changing of the guard of sorts at the center, which for many years has been the leading provider of comprehensive women’s medical and surgical services in the area.
The once male-dominated staff is now all female, and less than a year after they joined the CRWC team, newcomers Drs. Lena Weinman and Ananda Boyer say they are loving their new medical practice — and life in the Gorge.
“It’s awesome,” says Dr. Boyer, an obstetrician-gynecologist who joined CRWC last August.
There is something comforting about being in an office that provides medical care for women, by women, says Dr. Weinman, an obstetrician- gynecologist who has been with the center since last July.
“We all work together and truly care about our patients,”she says.“We’ve been through what they may be experiencing.”
CRWC provides comprehensive obstetrical, gynecological, and well-women services. The care team now includes the three obstetrician-gynecologists, family nurse practitioner Jennifer Hanlon-Wilde and certified nurse midwife Mandelynn Morgan. They offer gynecological care in addition to menopause and perimenopause management, prenatal care and delivery, and services for teens.
Having a choice of female medical practitioners is a plus for Gorge-area women, because a patient has to be comfortable with their doctor in order to talk about sensitive medical issues, says Dr. Analene Pentopoulos, the center’s third ob/gyn and a member of CRWC since 2006.
If someone is a good doctor their gender does not matter, she adds. But in this day and age many women prefer a female ob/gyn.
“I don’t think being a female makes you a better doctor, but I do think that a lot of females do choose to go to a female because we maybe have a better understanding of what you are going through,” Dr. Boyer adds.
After nearly a decade at CRWC, Dr. Pentopoulos’ patients no longer worry that she is going to leave for the big city.
“When I first came here they kept asking if I was going to leave,” shes says.“They don’t ask me that anymore.”
One factor that makes the center unique is that all of the doctors were very recently trained in the latest surgical techniques, Dr. Boyer says. Many of the gynecological surgeries they perform are minimally invasive and can be done right in the CRWC office, on the campus of Mid-Columbia Medical Center.
Among the most common in-office procedures are a hysteroscopy, which allows a doctor to look inside the uterus; endometrial ablation, which destroys the lining of the uterus to stop bleeding; and Essure, a permanent, non-surgical sterilization procedure.
More complex surgeries are done in the hospital, but patients often go home the same day. These include hysterectomies; treatment of endometriosis; and removal of ovarian cysts.
Dr. Boyer came to The Dalles as a National Health Service Corps Scholar. The National Health Service Corps is scholarship and loan repayment program for medical professionals and students who agree to work in underserved areas, such as rural or low-income communities.
In return for four years of service in a rural setting, the program paid for all four years of Dr. Boyer’s medical school. Being selected as a scholar is an honor and fairly rare achievement. The year Dr. Boyer was selected, fewer than 100 scholarships were awarded nationally.
Although spending four years in a small community is requirement, Dr. Boyer says she applied for the position at CRWC and in The Dalles because this is a place she and her husband can envision spending their future.
“It’s kind of my ideal spot,” she says.
If you are looking to establish a relationship with a women’s healthcare provider, call Columbia River Women’s Center at 541.296.5657. You can also learn more about the CRWC care team by viewing personal video profiles at crwc.net.