Dr. Clark Stresses the Importance of Women’s Health Checkups
By Rachel Karas
The closing of the Medina Hospital birthing center and Summa Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital’s maternity ward reduced access to women’s health services for some Wayne County residents.
The Aultman Health Foundation wanted to change that, so it opened two new locations that both offer women’s health services.
Aultman Massillon opened in November 2020 and the Aultman Orrville Doylestown Health Center in Doylestown opened in November.
Clark is a doctor in the Aultman Hospital system who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology. She is from the Wadsworth area and graduated from the Northeast Ohio Medical University in 2014.
She shared how important such services are, especially with developments in women’s health in recent years.
What kinds of women’s services are being offered by Aultman?
Clark said there is a wide range of services women need.
By having what Clark calls an “all-encompassing OBGYN,” they can offer care for patients with pregnancy and post-partum needs as well as more specialized care for endometriosis or chronic pelvic pain.
This is helpful for many in the community, she said, especially members of the Amish community who don’t want to or can’t travel farther.
Menopause can mean issues, including hormonal changes and pain during intercourse, for women in their 50s. And breast exams are vital for older women as well.
How do these programs help doctors approach sensitive topics such as abortion and breastfeeding?
As some have faced challenges like the shortage of baby formula and changes to abortion access, Clark said, she and her colleagues strive to meet the needs of each patient by letting them know their options.
Even with the recent Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade, there are options available for pregnant women. Clark said doctors can be helpful by answering questions and offering advice.
“We could talk about the options of pregnancy or adoption,” Clark said. “Or if they’re looking for an abortion or if they just want to kind of talk through things and see where they’re leaning towards.”
Clark said there has been an increased interest in breastfeeding – both from women who had children and those who wanted to donate to others – in recent months due to the formula shortage.
When people would call in with questions about how to start breastfeeding and what kinds of medications could help, Clark said, they try to help answer questions and recommend patients see lactation consultants for more specialized help.
Why is access to women’s health services important?: Clark answers
In Clark’s opinion, setting up annual appointments with an OBGYN is just as important for women as a regular checkup.
“A lot of people who had a hysterectomy, or they’re just not due for their pap smear this year, think that they can skip out on seeing us,” Clark said. “But really you should see your OBGYN once a year for things. Just routine health maintenance.”
These regular check-ups can help doctors really talk tor patients and sometimes even find conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS, and breast cancer that may not have been caught by a regular doctor.
There is a full list of services and treatments listed on the Aultman website along with the names of several women’s health specialists.
Although there is no online scheduling option, patients can call the main office line to set up an appointment. Virtual visits can be set up if a patient has come into the office at least once.