A Lifetime Relationship: 3 Emory Healthcare Doctors Talk About Women’s Health Care

Date: Mar 22, 2022

“Women are the cornerstone of the family,” says Christina Smith-Winfield, MD, a gynecologist and obstetrician who provides care at the Emory Women’s Center at Decatur. “If we take good care of ourselves, that means our children, our family members, our partners also take good care of themselves.”

At Emory Healthcare, women’s health services cover a spectrum of needs a woman may have throughout her life – from birth control or family planning to regular cancer screenings or mental health evaluation. For Smith-Winfield and other providers at Emory Healthcare, developing a relationship is the most important aspect of caring for a patient. “I get to have a lifelong partnership and relationship with all of my patients,” she says.

John Horton, MD, division director for General Obstetrics and Gynecology, agreed. At age 17, he got a job at a local hospital, first as an orderly and later working as a surgical scrub tech. In medical school, his experience with OBGYN helped him find his passion – and he’s been practicing since 2008. “I get to be with patients for their entire lives,” he says. “I could still be a part of surgical services, and I could be a part of some of the largest moments of any patient’s life – and that sense of impact on a person and being there for those moments and those changes is really important for me.”

For Charisma Manley, MD, who practices maternal-fetal medicine at Emory Perinatal Center at Decatur, her patients are also the most important part of her career. She graduated medical school in 2013 and commented on the impact of her training, “I’ll never forget in medical school being told that you will be able to determine what is going on with your patient just by listening to them.”

Putting Your Health First

Building a strong relationship with a provider through yearly exams can make it easier to prioritize your own health. And putting your health first is important, Smith-Winfield says. “As a woman, we wear many hats—and sometimes that means with all those roles that we end up putting our health to the back burner.”

During a well-woman’s exam, providers evaluate the whole woman – from head to toe. Providers at Emory Healthcare will talk to patients about a wide range of topics, including:

  • Vital signs and what they say about your overall health
  • Cancer screenings you need based on your age and family history (including breast, cervical, colon, and skin cancers)
  • Reproductive health
  • Family planning
  • Mental health evaluation
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Contraception

A regular pap smear or mammogram is extremely important for every woman, but gynecological care is about much more – a woman’s body experiences many changes throughout her life, so it’s important to check in with your doctor every year about the care you might need. Health care providers can also help address symptoms that arrive with menopause, or any concerns about abnormal bleeding and menstrual cycle disorders, sexual dysfunction, and your overall wellness.

Providing the Right Care for Your Needs

“There are so many benefits to being integrated into an academic medical system,” Manley says. “The multi-disciplinary care is seamless and integrated; all your specialists and sub-specialists are under this one hub.”

“Emory is different in that it provides people options,” Horton says, “We have both facilities where we have small, really intimate care, and we also have large facilities where all the resources that would be needed for any medical need are all under one roof.” Medical documents are shared easily, medical resources are shared, and health care providers all talk to each other – which all benefits a patient’s care significantly.

“If you’ve got a really high need pregnancy, or really high, really concerning GYN problem, we’ve got the people who can help solve those,” Horton says.

Smith-Winfield agrees. “We’re always up to date in the most cutting-edge aspects of women’s health.”

Meeting You, Wherever You Are

At Emory Healthcare, our gynecologists understand that every patient is different. You have your own goals, your own needs and your own history or concerns. We’ll meet you wherever you are—and help get you where you want to be.

Learn more about women’s health services at Emory Healthcare, and our locations in metro-Atlanta in your neighborhood.

Your Partner in Good Health

Some of the best doctors in their fields are just a phone call or email away. Access any specialist you may need—whether you’re:

  • Trying to conceive
  • Navigating a high-risk pregnancy
  • Struggling with postpartum depression
  • Going through perimenopause
  • Working through any other experience unique to women and individuals assigned female sex at birth

Request an Appointment

You can request an appointment online, or call 404-778-3401.

Schedule your appointment today.

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