SGCMH welcomes new OB/GYN
Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital is pleased to welcome Dr. Racheal Whitaker, OB/GYN to its medical staff.
Dr. Whitaker graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 2002 and completed her residency at Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, Louisiana, her home state.
She has spent the majority of her career in large cities, but it wasn’t until two years ago that she came to love practicing in a smaller setting.
“I’ve always practiced in very large hospital and tertiary care settings where there are a lot of referrals and a lot of high risk patients,” Dr. Whitaker said. “I did that until I moved to Farmington. I had a very good experience there and the patients were amazing. I liked the pace, and had the opportunity to get to know the patients a little better. When I started to pursue other opportunities, going back to a large city wasn’t something I really wanted to do. I realized I liked the smaller environment a lot better than I thought I would.”
Dr. Whitaker was set to sign a contract with another hospital, but as luck or faith would have it, Dr. Joseph Sharlow just happened to catch wind of this talented OB/GYN and told her about SGCMH and asked her to visit.
“A day later and I would have missed this opportunity,” she said. “Everyone has been very helpful, nice and welcoming.”
When Dr. Whitaker decided to study medicine, she was drawn to women’s health.
“Being an OB/GYN gives you the opportunity to give a lot of knowledge to women about all aspects of their health. I think a lot of women use their OB/GYN as a primary care doctor so you can get involved in their care a little more in depth. Those things are pretty important to me.”
Dr. Whitaker is impressed with the Women’s Wellness Services at SGCMH, including the technology, but she is ever mindful of the power of the human touch.
“I used to teach residents and medical students and I’ve seen over the years that sometimes when you have so many things you can click on to get data you can forgot to actually look at the patient and talk to them; touch them; and diagnose them that way. Technology really helps us do our job well. The science is awesome, but I feel there is an art to medicine, and that’s the connection with people.”
One might consider Dr. Whitaker an overachiever. Not only is she a medical doctor, but come next summer or fall we will in all likelihood be able to add Doctor of Law degree to her accomplishments.
“Overachiever? I don’t know about that,” she said. “Sometimes we can get locked into feeling like we can only do one thing. I just finally got the memo you can do as much as you like. There’s no ceiling, so why not? I finally got the courage to pursue a law degree in 2012.”
Dr. Whitaker is attending St. Louis University Law School and loves the challenge.
“Law has been a bit more abstract, than medicine, for me,” she said. It’s made me think in a different way. I don’t plan to practice law, necessarily, but at some point I may want to move into a health administrative position. You never know.”
One of Dr. Whitaker’s eye opening experiences came when she spent a week in Haiti doing relief work shortly after the 2010 earthquake.
“I was able to just be a doctor,” she said in an article for SLU. “The people were so gracious and loving. They helped me more than I could ever have helped them. I started my journey of living and not simply existing on that trip.”
When Dr. Whitaker is not practicing medicine or studying for her law degree, what does she do?
“I don’t know!” she said “That’s all I do right now. I do like to run and would like to try my hand at Crossfit. I like alone time, and really cherish the solitude. I have two dogs and they add a balance to my life.”
Dr. Whitaker joins Dr. Tony Lam, Dr. Angela Breckenridge, Mary Crecelius, MSN, WHNP, APNG, CCBE and Kelly Donze, MSN, WHNP, Certified Midwife. Dr. Whitaker is accepting new OB/GYN patients three days a week at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital and may have office time at the Bloomsdale Medical Centre and the Plaza office location in the near future. For appointments call 573-883-5715.