Empowering Women to Prioritize Their Health
By Amber Mabe
Dr. Meryl Davis knew from an early age that she wanted to be a doctor, and eagerly pursued that goal with the intention of becoming a surgeon. During her medical school rotations, she was drawn to gynecology as it allowed her to use her procedural skills while allowing her the added opportunity to develop lifetime relationships with her patients. “I get to see patients potentially from their earliest experiences with a physician through some of the most life-changing and important experiences of their lives,” says Dr. Davis. “I think that is a very special relationship to have and to be able to help people in that way is a privilege.”
As the recently appointed Physician Lead of the Center for Women’s Healthcare at Kernersville, Dr. Davis’s goal is to provide access to quality care and education to women of all ages in the Kernersville area. Equipped with some of the latest technology, a skilled team of physicians and nurses, and decades of cumulative experience, the Center for Women’s Healthcare at Kernersville is a unique blend of big city resources and a small town feeling. “We don’t have multiple physicians here at a time, and because of that the nurses really get to know our patients,” says Dr. Davis. “It really does foster a more intimate sense of community when I walk in the door and one of the nurses calls the patient by her name and says something like ‘Oh, how’s your son? Last time we talked he was going on tour.’ I feel like they really know our patients and our community.”
Despite being a small practice, the Kernersville location offers all the same services as the larger offices, with the added benefit of on-site mammography services. Innovations in minimally invasive procedures reduce recovery time and hospital stays for patients and can help to make procedures less intimidating. The recent addition of telemedicine allows patients to access much of the care they need from their home or office, which opens doors for patients with busy schedules, limited transportation access, or health concerns that may keep them from visiting the office.
Having been involved with medical mission work in the Caribbean, access to healthcare for all women has become near and dear to Dr. Davis’s heart. Despite the availability of medical care in most parts of the U.S., there are still many barriers left between some women and receiving necessary care. Whether it be physical blocks such as not having insurance or transportation, or mental barriers of fear or lack of support, Dr. Davis believes in doing everything possible to empower women to be proactive with their health.
Although there is no foolproof method for helping women gain access to care, one thing she would like to focus on in Kernersville is improving education around women’s health in general. “I feel like I see so many women who have truly suffered for a long period of time with a condition because they just didn’t know that that’s not how it had to be,” she says. “I would like to reach out to the community to educate more about common conditions and things that can be done to help improve women’s lives, because that’s our ultimate goal: to improve lives, improve outcomes, help people have healthy pregnancies, help people expand their families how and when they want to, and help teenagers grow into well-educated women who can advocate for their own health.”
Being open and sharing your own experiences with your friends or family members is one way to help dispel the fear and uncertainty that may be keeping someone from asking questions or sharing their concerns with a physician. This is especially important for teens who may be more likely to turn to the internet for answers than risk an awkward conversation with a parent or caregiver. “The internet is great for a lot of things, but I don’t think it can substitute for a face-to-face conversation about fears, questions, and alleviating people’s concerns,” says Dr. Davis.
Each time she sees a patient, no matter their age or what issue has brought them into the office, Dr. Davis makes the time to talk with the patient about their total women’s health picture. This includes discussing birth control and other contraceptive methods, being tested for STDs regularly, and what is and is not normal for periods and reproductive health. “In my opinion there’s no time that’s too early to start learning about your health and empowering young women to educate themselves to best manage their health concerns,” she shares. “I understand that I’m in a very privileged place of having the knowledge and the understanding that I have, and I want to be able to share that with people.”
Another way the Center for Women’s Healthcare at Kernersville is helping to provide access to care for women in the Triad is through involvement in the annual Women’s Only 5k Walk and Run. This year, over 800 women around the country participated virtually in the event and raised more than $35,000 for the Cone Health Mammography Scholarship Fund and the Alight Program. Each of these programs helps women without the necessary funds receive mammograms at low or no cost. Dr. Davis and her staff are already looking forward to next year’s race, which celebrates 30 years of the event and is set to happen in-person at the newly opened Cone Health MedCenter for Women near the main campus in Greensboro.
If you or someone you love is looking for a women’s health center that will not only provide exceptional care but that will take the time to help you understand your health, the Center for Women’s Healthcare at Kernersville is the place for you. To learn more about the services offered at the Center for Women’s Healthcare at Kernersville, call 336-992-5100 or visit ConeHealth.com/MedCenter-Kernersville and select Women’s Health.