We see you. We hear you. We stand with you.

The Group for Women stands with our community in disapproval to the overt racism and inherent /implicit bias present in our society.

The discrimination carries over into the health care setting and continues to impact underrepresented minorities who continue to experience a higher mortality rate.

Racism and bias in any setting is unacceptable. We are listening, we are learning and we are committed to take meaningful action.

To start, we are donating to the Virginia African American Cultural Center, Inc. to support their mission to educate, inform and celebrate the culture, history and accomplishments of African Americans as well as to offer opportunities for a safe and healing environment for our community.

We see you. We hear you. We stand with you.


Thanks to all of you for voting in The Pilot Readers’ Choice Awards Best of 2018 contest! The 25th annual Reader’s Choice Awards with over 120,000 votes revealed The Group for Women winners of Gold, Silver and Bronze!!
There are separate categories:
Best OB/GYN Specific (meaning we are only competing against other OB/GYN practices per city)
Best Doctor/Healthcare Provider (meaning we are competing against ALL specialties per city)
For Norfolk we won:
Silver: Best OB/GYN
Bronze: Best overall Doctor/Health Care provider
For Chesapeake we won: 
Gold: Best OB/GYN

2016 Physician Excellence Award for Dr. Michael Speckhart


Congratulations to our first recipient: Dr. Michael Speckhart

In its inaugural year, Sentara Leigh Hospital has established the Physician Excellence Award which seeks to annually recognize physicians who are distinguished for their commitment to their patients and their team members. The annual winner will have his/her name and picture placed on the Employee Recognition Wall which is in development for 2016.

This award was championed by Dr. Samuel Robinson who was instrumental in the development and implementation of this program. We would like to thank him for his participation and support.

Nominees this year were submitted by peers, ancillary departments, nursing departments and community-focused groups. Submissions were reviewed by a multi-disciplinary voting committee made up of Nursing Practice Council, Ancillary Practice Council, Patient & Family Advisory Council and Sentara system leaders. We appreciate their involvement as well.

Physicians nominated for this award demonstrated excellence in all of the following areas:

– Sentara Commitments – Professional Practice – Improved Patient Outcomes – Collaboration in creating a high-performance team

Please see a few thoughts on each of our nominees below:

Dr. Pamela Evans, Neurologist of Sentara Medical Group
Dr. Evan’s use teamwork in providing adequate and safe care to her stroke patients daily. She always has a smile of her face and is easily approachable which allows the communication to be open and results in a better stroke program. She takes feedback and responds positive. We truly love working with her.

Dr. G. Wilkins Hubbard, Cardiothoracic Surgeon of Sentara Surgery Specialists
Dr. Hubbard is very respectful of all team members. He works tirelessly for decades to ensure that the team feels appreciated, respected and cared for. He knows the names of the nurses, housekeepers, volunteers. He is consistently reliable and offers constructive comments in Medical staff leadership meetings. He is a jewel among the physicians at Sentara Leigh and he is very supportive of the hospital.

Dr. Holly Puritz, OB-GYN of Group for Women
Always wearing a smile, Dr. Holly Puritz is a pleasure to work alongside with! Her knowledge and leadership provides a strong foundation for the excellent services provided on the Family Maternity Center. She provides leadership, compassion, and focus on the goal of keeping patients safe and providing exceptional childbirth experiences every day!

Dr. Jack Siegel, Orthopedic Surgeon of Jordan-Young
Dr. Siegel is heavily involved in facility improvements and the surgical services lines. He has volunteered numerous years of service as a hospital committee volunteer to continue to better Sentara Leigh and community programs Dr. Siegel is an avid advocate for nursing education and advancement and partners with the staff to improve patient outcomes. He is a voice for employees and patients.

Dr. Michael Speckhart, Internal Medicine & Head of SMG Hospitalists at SLH
As we worked to build a nationally recognized team at SLH, Dr. Speckhart supported our efforts through attending our partnership councils and bringing information that helped grow a great bond between the staff and physicians. Dr. Speckhart is very involved in the infrastructure that guides the practice of medicine at Leigh. For at least 5 years he has led the SMG Hospitalist team and participates on a variety of teams that continue to push medical practice into a World Class position.

Dr. Bethany Tan, Cardiothoracic Surgeon of Sentara Surgery Specialists
Dr. Bethany Tan is a role model and mentor for excellence in patient care and medical practice. She values and promotes the team approach to patient care. It is understandable why Dr. Tan attracts providers and support staff to her team – it is human nature to want to be part of a “winning team”. The office team, OR team, and inpatient care team are integral to the success of the Thoracic practice at Leigh. Support is provided via many specialists that have “come on board” to be a part of such a dynamic group.

Dr. Walter Vest, Internal Medicine of SMG Hospitalists at SLH
Dr. Vest is very supportive of new graduate nurses, and makes them feel confident in their practice and decision making skills. Dr. Vest empowers the nurse’s role and supports them. We appreciate Dr. Vest for being the confident and caring doctor that he is and it makes our night knowing he is on call!

Family Maternity Center News

Thank you to Holly S. Puritz, M.D. for her many years of dedicated service as the OB Medical Director for SLH.

Giniene Pirkle, MD will transition into the role beginning in June 2016.

The Family Maternity Center would also like to acknowledge the OB Physician Groups of Elite Women’s Care, The Group for Women, and Tidewater Physician’s for Women, along with Atlantic Anesthesia for their partnership in the Evidence Based Practice of placing the newborn Skin-to-Skin immediately after delivery. The practice was expanded into the OR setting and has significantly reduced admissions to the Level II Nursery.

The work will be disseminated through the poster Bringing Relationship Based Care to Life: Reducing Nursery Admissions with Skin -to-Skin in the OR. Presentations are planned over the next several months. Most notable is acceptance to the National Magnet Conference being held in Orlando FL in October 2016.

Submitted by Marybeth Baber

TGFW now offering the MonaLisa Touch

MonaLisa Touch

As many as 50% of postmenopausal women are suffering from changes to their vaginal health. When estrogen levels decline after menopause, many changes can occur. Some of these changes include vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, burning or itching.  Millions of women experience changes in their gynecologic health that interfere with their personal lives as a consequence. Do you suffer silently?

We are proud to now be able to offer MonaLisa Touch laser therapy. MonaLisa Touch laser treatment helps restore vaginal health by generating NEW collagen, elastin and vascularization in the vaginal tissue. Gentle laser energy is delivered to the vaginal wall tissue that stimulates a healing response in the vaginal canal in 3 easy, painless treatments  6 weeks apart. Each procedure takes less than 5 minutes that delivers both immediate and lasting relief that’s clinically proven to work.

MonaLisa has been described as “life-changing” by thousands of women treated since 2012. Ask your doctor if MonaLisa Touch is right for you by calling our office today at 757-466-6388 x103.

MonaLisa Touch is fast, simple and safe:

  • Procedure takes less than 5 minutes
  • Gentle laser energy is delivered to the vaginal wall tissue in 3 easy treatments, 6 weeks apart.
  • In-office treatments that require NO anesthesia
  • Minimal side effects with no downtime




Frequently asked questions:

Q: What happens during the treatment?

A: The procedure will seem similar to your annual exam, and will likely by even quicker. Your healthcare provider will insert the laser probe and deliver laser energy “pulses.” The total procedure time is less than 5 minutes.

Q: Does it hurt?

A: The laser energy itself is virtually painless. Some patients report mild discomfort with the laser probe insertion during the first treatment if there is gynecologic dryness.

Q: How soon can I expect results?

A: Many patients have reported relief right away. Virtually all patients have experienced relief by the second treatment, however optimal results are seen after the third treatment.

Q: How long does treatment last?

A: MonaLisa Touch provides lasting results. A once a year single treatment is recommended to maintain symptom relief.

Q: Is this procedure safe for Breast Cancer patients?

A: Yes, the MonaLisa Touch therapy is particularly well suited for patients who cannot, or prefer not to receive estrogen therapy.

Q: What are my limitations after the procedure is done?

A: Patients should refrain from sexual activity for 2-3 days. Your doctor will determine a post-procedure regimen that is right for you.

Q: How much will the procedure cost?

A: Contact our office for additional information at 757-466-6388 x103

Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure Events

Here’s a set of photos of the TGFW “BOOBIE BRIGADE” after the Tidewater Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure” on Saturday October 10, 2015. TGFW’s team ran/walked the 5k. Leading the pack was Dr. Daniel Noffsinger who ran the 5k in 27mins!!!! 2nd fastest in his age bracket (only 2 ½ minutes difference from the first place runner)

The TGFW "Boobie Brigade"
The TGFW “Boobie Brigade”

Later Childbearing: What is Important to Know for Those over 35

As medicine continues to improve and allows women in their 30s, and even 40s, the opportunity to continue having children there are concerns which must be addressed. The two largest concerns include lessened fertility and health problems; let’s look closer at each of these.

There truly is no precise age at which we can say women become less fertile. However, when women enter their 30s fertility does tend to decrease, as does it in men also. This decrease occurs due to less frequent ovulation, more difficulty in fertilizing eggs and an increased chance of blocked tubes in older women. When looking at health problems, you should be aware that some women dealing with high blood pressure or diabetes may experience increased complications due to the new demands placed on a woman’s body during pregnancy. The chance of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy is also increased in older women and they are more likely to need to give birth through cesarean delivery.preg

The best way to handle having a baby over the age of 35 is proper preparation. Maintaining good care prior to pregnancy will help and preconception care will allow a chance to find any risks or medical issues you may have. If you make sure to begin prenatal care early and seek the advice of your physician regularly, many possible issues can be resolved and dealt with prior to conception.

Additionally, genetic counseling is available for women looking to conceive over the age of 35. Counseling is performed by doctors and nurses which involves obtaining a detailed family history and occasionally a physical exam with lab testing. This testing can help determine if the couple is at risk of having a child with a birth defect.

It is important to note that will this information is important; most women have healthy pregnancies and normal babies. In most cases, older women are able to have a safe, healthy pregnancy. If you are discussing trying to have a baby and are over the age of 35, be sure to come in and discuss any concerns you are having. Knowledge is the first step to having a safe, successful pregnancy.

What to Expect During Menopause

The average age women experience menopause is around 51 years of age.  At this point, the ovaries begin to make less estrogen.  In fact, one of the most common signals of approaching menopause is a chance in your menstrual cycle.  A lighter or heavier flow than normal may appear and even skipping one or more periods can occur.  At some point in this process, the ovaries stop producing estrogen and the menstrual period concludes.images (3)

Menopause brings about a different experience for each woman; some are heavily affected, while others notice little to no change.  The most common symptom of menopause experienced are hot flushes, or “hot flashes”.  Nearly 75% of women in menopause will experience these sudden feelings of heat.  During one of these occurrences, the skin may redden and a sweat may break out, lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes.  While hot flushes are uncomfortable and a bit of a nuisance, they are not harmful.

Other issues which may occur during menopause include trouble sleeping and emotional changes.  A lack of sleep may be caused by occasional hot flushes or simply because there is a lack of REM sleep which allows the body to feel rested.  Emotional changes can take place because of this additional stress and a change in hormonal levels can increase feelings of nervousness, irritability and overall tiredness.  Some women may also develop less of a sex drive around and after menopause as hormone levels decrease.

Along with a lowered sex drive, a lack of estrogen can cause the vagina to dry and as the lining becomes thinner.  This can cause increased pain during intercourse and higher chances of infection.  To combat many of these issues, maintaining routine healthcare is essential.  You should continue to visit your doctor once a year and have regular exams and tests performed.

As you go through these changes during menopause, remember, these are all natural events.  Although physical changes occur during this process, there is nothing that should prevent you from continuing to enjoy your life.  Be sure to speak to your physician about maintaining good nutrition, getting enough essential vitamins and calcium, as well as sticking with an appropriate exercise plan.

IUDs: What Are Your Options?

What is an Intrauterine Device (IUD)?

When it comes to birth control, the Intrauterine Device (IUD) offers a safe, effective and reversible protection against pregnancy. There are currently two types of IUDs available for women; the hormonal IUD and the copper IUD. Let’s look more closely at each of these options.

The Hormonal IUD:

This type of IUD is replaced once every 5 years to ensure protection against pregnancy. This device releases a small amount of progestin into the uterus which thickens the cervical mucus to decrease the chance of sperm entering the cervix and keeps the lining of the uteurs thin, making it less likely for fertilized egg to implant.

The Copper IUD:

This IUD only requires replacement every 10 years. The device works by releasing a small amount of copper into the uterus to prevent the egg from being fertilized or attaching to the wall of the uterus. The copper substance also works to prevent sperm from entering the fallopian tubes and decreases the sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg.

Whichever IUD you and your physician decide is best for you, the process of insertion is similar. For these devices, your physician will put the IUD in a long, plastic tube and place this through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. Here, the IUD is released and opens into place as the tube is withdrawn. Once the device is in place, be sure to discuss the processes of checking to ensure the “string” or “tail” is in place.

There are several instances which may prevent you from using an IUD. If these descriptions fit you, speak to your physician about another method of birth control:

  • You are pregnant
  • Have had pelvic inflammatory disease in the past 3 months prior to insertion
  • Have abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Have had a pelvic infection in the last 3 months prior to insertion
  • Have an STD
  • Have certain liver conditions (hormonal IUD)
  • Are allergic to any aspect of the IUD
  • Have uterine fibroids

Overall, this is a good choice of pregnancy prevention for many women. As a whole, during the first year of use, about 8/1000 women using a copper IUD and 1/1000 women using the hormonal IUD become pregnant. If you have additional questions about this process and if it may be a good option for you, give us a call or schedule an appointment!

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