I was born in a very rural area in Bristol, Tenn. to parents who were raised during the Depression and understood the value of hard work and an education. We grew our own food, made our clothes and were encouraged to take advantage of the educational opportunities that they never had. Both of my parents suffered from prolonged illnesses and their quiet dignity taught me a great deal about how people and families deal with illness. Their financial challenges affected me personally and are probably the reason I am such a strong proponent of preventive care. My background has given me, I believe, a very unique perspective on educational, economic and ethnic diversity.
There is nothing I love more than to sit and listen to the stories of how it used to be, step up to the kitchen sink or stove and prepare a meal with my sisters or my friends and get lost in some gorgeous music. I am truly a child of the mountains and a real southerner at heart.
I am a general obstetrician and gynecologist and am happy to still be practicing obstetrics. I like to perform surgery and consider it my responsibility to explore options with members so that we make the right decision together.
I love the varied nature of this specialty because it combines aspects of internal medicine, surgery, prevention, nutrition and in the unique area of obstetrical care, labor and delivery. In many ways, it is the ultimate preventive specialty because we have the opportunity to influence the development of a baby by helping his or her mother be healthy before, during and after the pregnancy.
I have always believed that if you treat a woman and change her habits and practices, you treat a whole family and even an entire community. Women are by nature nurturers, which is powerful and sometimes tricky for the individual woman. My job is to encourage women to take care of themselves by exercising, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, reading a good book, laughing and getting regular health screenings and medical care.
My work is very important to me and I will admit that when things are not going well with my patients or in the office, I take it home with me. My family and friends are a vital part of my life, and I love spending time with them in the mountains and cooking for them. I love to hike and go out in the woods with my backpack (and bear bell!) just to clear my head. I love cooking, reading, sailing and listening to all types of music.
I participate in local and individual charities and support a number of international organizations such as Partners in Health, Heifer International® and the Central Asia Institute. I truly believe that most people want to be self-sufficient and these organizations provide the education and tools for self-sufficiency that can create lasting change.