New Pregnancy and Childbirth Care Options at AppFamily Medicine | Local News


BOONE – In the High Country, access to medical specialists has increased. The Appalachian Regional Health System recently added or improved services such as cardiology, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, and much more. It is a promising development. But as a result, the true role of the family medicine – or primary care provider – may not be fully understood in the highly specialized and compartmentalized view of healthcare today.

AppFamily Medicine aims to educate the community on its approach to treating the whole person and the whole family at every stage of life. And they are taking steps to create true family practice from birth through childhood and throughout adulthood.

They established the practice and added full-service pediatric care and a same-day / walk-in clinic. The next phase of their approach is to set up an antenatal clinic and deliver at the Watauga Medical Center, according to ARHS.

A big step forward for women’s health

In 2008, Harmony Center for Women opened to create a central location for women’s health – including gynecology, obstetrics, and midwifery – to provide women with several options on how they wish. receive care and to cover all levels of care, from routine to advanced. -risk. Dr Beverly Womack joined Harmony soon after it opened and has provided women’s health care, prenatal care, childbirth and gynecologic surgery throughout its 20-plus-year career.

Shortly after Harmony was established, the population of Watauga County increased dramatically. Today, 25% more people live in the county than in 2008. ARHS has said it believes access to health care, especially for women, must keep pace with the growth of the High Country .

“We have a lot of patients in our area who have never had proper access to care,” said Dr. Womack, “and it is my passion to improve that.”

Meet Growing Community Needs Enter the Mountain Area Health Education Center and the Boone Rural Family Medicine Residency Program, which began at AppFamily Medicine and Watauga Medical Center in 2020. Family medicine residents are accredited physicians who recently graduated from the Medical School. They receive three years of complementary training in six major medical fields: pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology (OB / GYN), internal medicine, psychiatry and neurology, surgery and community medicine. These young physicians will be the future of family medicine in the High Country and other rural areas.

To accomplish OB / GYN training for these young physicians, AppFamily Medicine welcomes Dr. Womack as the Obstetric and Gynecologic Education Supervisor for the residency program.

She teaches and supervises resident family medicine physicians who care for women and children in the High Country. While she will no longer deliver babies with her own patients, she will assist resident physicians in obstetrics and childbirth.

Dr Womack said she cherished the “privilege of being with women at the most vulnerable, intimate and important times of their lives.” Now she can share that same passion and privilege with doctors in the first phase of their careers.

She sees patients 60% of the time for gynecological appointments, including care of healthy women, emerging or chronic issues, and surgery. With the remaining 40 percent of her time, she will establish an antenatal clinic with resident physicians.

“I have had such a good experience with the residents,” said Dr Womack. “My time with them has really rejuvenated my enthusiasm for what I do. It got me thinking about everything I’ve done so far. And it really made me start thinking about things that I wish I had known when I was a younger doctor.

At the AppFamily Medicine Prenatal Clinic, residents, under the direction of Dr. Womack, will see women with low-risk pregnancies and manage labor and delivery at Watauga Medical Center.

Dr. Womack believes that having residents help her provide patient care “will make it better for all of us.”

Comprehensive health care for families

One of the main advantages of family medicine is that mothers can choose the same doctor who gave birth for continuing pediatric care. Dr. Charlie Baker, who has practiced in Avery County for over 40 years, is a prime example of a full family physician. He has cared for pregnant women, delivered babies, cared for them throughout their childhood through adulthood – sometimes looping back to deliver women he had helped enter in the world.

Looking to the future, Dr Womack said she hopes to expand the times and places they can see patients, to reduce the burden on women and the barriers to receiving care.

How to get treatment

If a community member is pregnant or planning to become pregnant and does not have a provider, they can call AppFamily Medicine at (828) 386-2222 or request an appointment online at They should inform the planner that they are interested in gynecology and / or antenatal care.

AppFamily also offers general health care, gynecology, and family planning services for every stage of femininity whether or not a community member plans to start a family. Call today or request an appointment online to establish yourself with a provider who can help you make healthcare decisions.

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