Medical Memoirs: OB/GYN Physician

Medical Memoirs: OB/GYN Physician

Dr. Erin Best on Why Being an OB/GYN was Her Best Choice  

It takes a good sense of humor and a lot of flexibility to bring new life into this world.  “Everything we do is based on uncertainty,” says Erin Best, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Central Florida Health Care, Inc. (CFHC) in Winter Haven.  Dr. Best has been practicing for 14 years.  She says her profession is for doctors with short attention spans because there is always something new and a doctor will never know what’s going to be behind that door.  Despite those uncertainties, the rewards are great.  “It’s a very unique specialty; you develop a relationship with your patient and get to be there with them during one of the most important moments in their life,” she explains.

Dr. Best came back home to Florida three years ago after serving a National Health Service Corps commitment in Texas, where she was the only female gynecologist in the five surrounding counties.  She joined CFHC to help update some of its services and grow the practice.  “They [some in the community] think we’re only here for poor people, but we are here for the entire community,” she states.  Dr. Best points out that CFHC has patients with private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid.  “What I love about community health is everyone gets treated the same,” she says.

It’s in the Genes

     Before anyone ever decided to create an official “take your daughter to work” day, Dr. Best was getting an up-close look at medicine with her father— a high-risk maternal fetal medicine specialist.  “I would go on rounds with him on the weekends and watch him deliver babies,” Dr. Best recalls.  With her father’s influence and her mother’s position as an obstetric nurse, what would seem to be an obvious segue into a medical career, was not.  “I was trying to be a marine biologist . . . until I realized there are not a lot of marine biology jobs,” continues Dr. Best.  “It’s still my first love.”  She didn’t change her major until her senior year of college and she wasn’t sure she wanted to be a doctor until she worked on her masters in public health.  

Dr. Best’s Professional Training

  • Undergraduate: Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida  
  • Medical School: University of South Florida college of Medicine, Tampa, Florida
  • Residency: Obstetrics and Gynecology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
  • Internship: Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina

Dr. Best faces many challenges in her job.  For one, she treats two patients instead of just one.  She has to balance between doing the best for the baby and the mom and making sure mothers-to-be understand the risks involved with pregnancy.  She is also constantly contending with the changes in the healthcare system, government involvement, levels of accountability between organizations, and insurance companies.  

Mentors

There are many people Dr. Best would point out as mentors throughout her education who kept her on the right path, but the two mentors who stand out the most to Dr. Best are her mother JoAnne and her father Bill.  “My parents have been amazing mentors to me.”  Dr. Best explains that her mother always gave her great respect for the nursing staff and that everyone should be treated as a team member.  “Your relationship with your support staff— people see that and it says a lot about who you are as a person,” she points out.  As for her dad, she says, “My father has always been my rock.”

Balance is Key

“I save the world from eight to five,” Dr. Best says.  Work-life balance is a priority for the doctor and when she is not seeing patients, she keeps her schedule busy with her family— 13-year-old daughter Kiera and husband Lawrence, who is the chief operating officer at Central Florida Health Care in Winter Haven.  “Its great to have someone who understands your commitment, your vision,” Dr. Best shares.  Still a bit of a marine biologist at heart, Dr. Best enjoys snorkeling, boating, and going to the beach.    

Looking Ahead

Dr. Best stopped performing deliveries, but she is still doing gynecological surgery and obstetric outpatient care.  She would like to focus more of her time on menopausal issues and understanding how she can make the transition easier for her patients.  

“We want women to be able to enjoy their sexuality until they choose not to,” stresses Dr. Best.  Many women tend to think they don’t need a gynecologist once they’re past menopause, but good care can significantly improve quality of life.  

CREDIT

by BONNY JOHNSON

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