GREENSBORO — Cone Health’s newest addition — the Cone Health MedCenter for Women — is a “one-stop shop” for women seeking health care in Greensboro.
The facility, which combines medical care and support services, opened its doors at 930 Third St. and welcomed its first patients on Monday after years of planning and preparation.
“It was a good four years in the making,” said Kelly Leggett, the medical center’s chief clinical transformation officer. “It started with interviewing our staff, our community, our patients and finding out what it is they need in a center for women that would provide them all the care they need.”
The MedCenter for Women offers prenatal and gynecology care, along with ultrasounds and mammography. Other services include high-risk maternal care, genetics counseling, physical therapy, breastfeeding support, prenatal yoga and more.
The center, housed in a two-story, 30,000-square-foot building, isn’t Cone Health’s first MedCenter, but it is the first that’s only for women, Leggett said.
“(Women) do have special needs and a lot of it is centered around reproductive health. We wanted women to come here and feel safe and supported and know that everyone here is specifically educated about women’s health.”
Director Walidah Karim-Rhoades sees the center as a place for women to begin receiving health care in their youth and continue on as they go through pregnancy, menopause and other challenges specific to women.
“That’s the big piece and the mission and intent of this whole building — that we can attract all women in the community and show a way that you can get high-quality care and also address disparities in health care,” Karim-Rhoades said.
Those disparities are the biggest reason why there was a need for a place like MedCenter for Women.
“When you’re looking at disparities, we know that social determinants impact health,” Karim-Rhoades said.
In researching for the facility, Leggett said they found that a woman’s ability to access care is one of the major roadblocks that prevent women from seeking care. Whether it be because of lack of transportation, working long hours or caring for children and families, women often neglect their health care.
Locating all of the services together is a “recipe for success,” Leggett said.
A bus stop right outside the building makes the facility readily accessible. Inside, through a partnership with Food Lion and Backpack Beginnings, women experiencing food insecurity will even be able to receive food on site, specific to their health needs.
And because women who have had babies often are more focused on their child’s health in the year after birth, the center is also the first in Greensboro to offer “mom and baby” clinics, where mothers and their babies will receive checkups at the same time, according to Leggett.
She hopes the center’s approach to women’s health care will lessen rates of infant mortality.
“Infant mortality is a problem across the nation,” Leggett said. “North Carolina has one of the highest rates and Guilford County has one of the highest within the state.” In 2020, the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services reported there were 8.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018, the latest data available.
Infant mortality can be traced back to the health of a mother even before she becomes pregnant, Leggett said. Being proactive about women’s health even before she’s considering pregnancy is likely to lessen the possibility of issues that may lead to infant mortality.
Perhaps most importantly to Leggett and Karim-Rhoades, Cone Health’s MedCenter for Women was designed with a positive patient experience in mind.
The flow of the building, the large windows throughout the facility and even the paint on the walls were all carefully considered. And by September, the facility plans to unveil art in the building.
With work by local artists, Karim-Rhoades hopes MedCenter for Women also will be thought of as an “art center,” with pieces that focus on women and women’s issues.
“We kind of want it to be a destination for art,” Leggett added. “Many women aren’t able to go to museums. This will be an area where you can experience art and be inspired and unite women.”
Contact Jamie Biggs at
336-373-4476 and follow
@JamieBiggsNR on Twitter.