Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


The Group for Women celebrates the addition of Zachary Puritz Wohlgemuth to the practice


Zachary Puritz Wohlgemuth. MD

Zachary Puritz Wohlgemuth. MD

By Dr. Barbara L. Kersey

For the second time in its 115-year history, The Group for Women has parent/adult child partners working alongside each other. Founding physician, C.J. Andrews, began a solo OB/GYN practice in 1905 and welcomed the addition of his sons, Mason and William, as soon as they could complete their medical training.

Nearly a century later, Dr. Holly Puritz, managing partner of The Group for Women for over a decade, celebrates the addition of her son, Zachary Puritz Wohlgemuth, to the team of physicians.
“It was a magical moment for me that first day, walking up the stairs at the Kempsville office and seeing his name and my name together in the list of docs," Dr. Puritz recalls.

For Dr. Wohlgemuth, that first day was the realization of a lifelong dream. “I don't remember a time when I wasn't interested in medicine," he says. “From middle school through high school and college, medicine was always on my radar." This makes sense in that both of Dr. Wohlgemuth's parents, as well as one grandfather and an uncle, are physicians. “Medicine was dinnertime conversation at our house. Both my parents talked about their jobs, and both seemed happy."

While the choice of a career in medicine may have come as no surprise, the choice to specialize in OB/GYN was a bit surprising, even for Dr. Wohlgemuth himself. “I had always assumed that I would specialize in something surgical like Dad (retired surgeon, Dr. Stephen Wohlgemuth). I did my OB rotation and loved the OR. I then did my surgery rotation, expecting to like it more but was surprised to find that unlike my Dad, not all surgeons seemed happy," Dr. Wohlgemuth observes. “Labor and Delivery is the only really happy place in the hospital. If I am going to be up at 3 a.m. for work, I'd rather be present with a first-time family than rushing to perform emergency surgery."

Dr. Wohlgemuth settled on OB, seeing it as a chance to have time in the OR and have an office practice through which to provide care for patients, ages 18 to 88.  “OB/GYN is an amalgam of great things about medicine," he notes.  When Dr. Wohlgemuth and his wife, Allie, began to consider where they would like to settle and raise a family, he was drawn to return to Norfolk, his home, “a close-knit medical community."

When Dr. Puritz realized that her son was interested in interviewing with The Group for Women, she did what any savvy Mom would do: she got out of the way! She brought the idea to her partners and then, very purposefully, “backed away. They needed to meet, to discuss it and to interview Zach, all without me present." Dr. Puritz, whose impeccable sense of ethics has always guided her work, made the decision to step out of her role as president of The Group for Women—a position she had occupied for 12 years.

“To work with your Mom is one thing; to have your Mom as your boss is another," Dr. Wohlgemuth says. Just weeks in, it appears that both mother and son have acclimated to their roles as partners. Dr. Puritz describes her son as “kind, quiet and steady, an innate caretaker. With Zach, still waters run deep." She adds, “It is fun to see him in his element."

Dr. Wohlgemuth notes that he and his Mom “have always had a great relationship" and that he appreciates “being able to see a different side of her. As a senior partner in the group, I am amazed to see what she's done and how she's done it." He adds that it's nice to see, first hand, how well respected his Mom is by both partners and patients. “The sign of a true leader is that they do what's good for the group; they think three or four steps ahead of everyone else."

Dr. Wohlgemuth adds praise for the practice as a whole: “Complacency is not a word that is used around here. I appreciate the history of this group. Now it's my responsibility to carry it on and make it better."

When Dr. Holly Puritz joined The Group for Women's team of doctors in July of 1987, her son, Zach, was 8 months old. Now, 33 years later, his addition to a dedicated group of physicians means that Mom gets to do what Moms love best; she gets to watch her son flourish in the career that he knew was his passion all along. Like mother, like son.

Dr. Holly Puritz

Dr. Holly Puritz

The Group For Women
880 Kempsville Road, Norfolk

The Group for Women

880 Kempsville Road
Norfolk, VA 23502


300 Medical Parkway
Chesapeake, VA 23320

Brambleton Medical Center
250 W. Brambleton Ave. Suite 202
Norfolk, VA 23510