New women's health center opens in Winston-Salem
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WINSTON-SALEM -- Randy Comer is one person already benefiting from the center's approach. The 39-year-old mother of two was diagnosed with colon cancer three years ago.
"It was devastating, to say the least, but I knew what I had to do, to get through, so, that's why I'm here," said Comer.
The Maya Angelou Center for Women's Health and Wellness brings together all Forsyth Medical Center's services related to women, everything from cancer treatment to surgical services, to behavioral care.
One feature is the nurse navigators.
"We just try and make it an easier journey for them, we follow them from diagnosis, through treatment,'' said Kathy Bowman, a GI Oncology Navigator who helped Comer through the hospital system and providing support in many ways.
"It was a big comfort, and they became family, just knowing I could call them anytime, for any reason,'' said Comer.
Hospital officials said the center arose out of a desire to make it easier to address women's specific health care needs.
"Women's health is very different, I don't think that people realize that the biology of gender really does effect how women present for diseases,'' said Dr. Chere Gregory, the medical director of Neurosciences for Forsyth Medical Center. ''Sometimes we're even disproportionately more at risk for diseases than men."
And sometimes less likely to seek treatment.
"What we know about women, is so often, in our society, they take care of the needs of those around them, before they take care of their own needs, and we wanted to change that," said Forsyth Medical Center President Jeff Lindsay.
Lindsay said there are other women's centers that focus on birth or other services, but isn't aware of any other center like this one in the country.
Officials announced the center in May, named after poet and Wake Forest Professor Maya Angelou, saying she was an inspiration to women everywhere.
"To encourage women to be advocates in their own health search, the woman must speak up, we must encourage them to speak up, because they have to learn to be on their own side," said Angelou, at the time.
And as the ribbon was cut, there was already one patient who thought she'd benefited from the center's approach.
"I'm doing well, doing great, cancer-free," said Comer.