April 2, 2024
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Women’s health services are thriving on Central Coast


Dignity Health’s St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard. (courtesy photo)

Central Coast healthcare providers exemplify upcoming Women’s Health Month with an array of women-specific services. 

The newest addition is the recent launch of Cottage Health’s Women’s Heart Clinic in Santa Barbara. 

It’s designed to address the unique needs of women with cardiovascular diseases — their leading cause of death.

Led by Dr. Bina Ahmed, an interventional cardiologist and structural heart disease specialist, the clinic will offer expert consultation to women for the management of various cardiovascular diagnoses.

“The purpose of our clinic is to provide comprehensive and scientific care to women at risk or with known cardiovascular disease across the spectrum of their lifespan,” Ahmed told the Business Times March 12.

The clinic’s February launch was timed to coincide with American Health Month, she said.

May is Women’s Health Month.

Ahmed said the establishment of the clinic stemmed from the awareness that cardiovascular care for women has to be nuanced and women-specific.

“I think the real motivation here is to leverage my interest, experience, and training in women’s heart health to the community here in Santa Barbara,” Ahmed said.

“We look forward to participating and partnering with our other specialists in town to try and give women comprehensive cardiovascular care,” she said.

Santa Barbara’s Sansum Clinic, now part of Sutter Health, also recognizes the importance of improving the community’s understanding of women’s heart health.

Toward that end, the clinic has posted a video on YouTube of a February panel discussion featuring heart specialists from its cardiology department answering some of the most commonly asked women’s heart-related questions.

“Here on the Central Coast, countless families are affected when their loved ones experience cardiovascular problems,” Dr. Kurt Ransohoff, president of Sutter’s Greater Central Coast Market, said in a press release.

Cardiovascular risk factors are different in women than in men, and many other gender-specific differences influence heart disease prevention and care, according to the release. 

Women often experience a range of heart attack symptoms beyond just chest pain, and may require unique types of testing to uncover cardiac issues, the release says.  

The panel’s clinicians discussed those subjects as well as the impact of cholesterol levels, the prevalence of atrial fibrillation in women and pregnancy-related heart risks. 

“We hope this panel discussion helps to educate women about the unique risks they face,” Ransohoff said.

Central Coast hospitals also provide women’s cardiovascular care, plus much more.

Dignity Health’s Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria is one of them.

“We’re committed to providing comprehensive care and support to women at all stages of their lives,” said Candice Monge, RN, the hospital’s chief nursing executive.

Such care includes The Sue J. Sword Heart Center, gynecologic oncology services, advanced 3D mammography technology, and maternity care, Monge said.

The medical center is a designated STEMI Receiving Center, certifying that its cardiac team is ready around the clock to diagnose and treat STEMI heart attacks, the most serious kind, she said.

Considering that heart attacks are the leading killer for women, “being able to provide cardiovascular services almost immediately to anyone experiencing any sort of cardiovascular event in their life can save a woman’s life,” she said.

Barry Wolfman, president and CEO of Dignity Health’s St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and St. John’s Hospital Camarillo, said they “recognize the unique healthcare needs of women and are proud to offer a comprehensive range of services tailored specifically for them.”

They include a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, specialty care for women with high-risk pregnancies and 24-hour obstetrical and gynecological services.

The medical center also offers an award-winning designated breast imaging center of excellence and specializes in treating several types of cancers, including breast and gynecologic cancers, Wolfman said.

Like the other healthcare providers, St. John’s also has comprehensive cardiac services that are tailored to meet the unique cardiovascular needs of women at every age, he said.

“Our commitment to quality patient care, advanced medical technologies, and compassionate service ensures that women receive the highest standard of care for all their healthcare needs,” he said.

Emily Hosford, director of women and children’s services at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, said the hospital, just acquired by Adventist Health from Tenet Healthcare, takes a collaborative, integrated approach to women’s health.

“Women’s health needs are unique to each individual and, like other parts of our lives, there are different aspects that overlap,” Hosford said.

The San Luis Obispo Medical Center works with OBGYNs and other specialists, primary caregivers, and doulas and midwives, she said.

The hospital also engages with community organizations and provides education and support groups for a wide variety of women’s health needs, she said.

“We’re better together and you can see that in patient outcomes,” Hosford said.

email: mharris@pacbiztimes.com