Monday, March 25th, 2019

Virginia Center for Women Story


Performing robotic-assisted hysterectomies

by Kay Carey

Lenny Laureta, DO and Linda Mathison-Ezieme, MD

Lenny Laureta, DO and Linda Mathison-Ezieme, MD

This is an exciting time to be in the advance of medicine,” Dr. Derwin Gray of the Virginia Center for Women declares. “We are discovering so much about the human genome and genetic mapping. It’s imperative that physicians stay abreast of changes and continually educate ourselves to remain current and relevant.”

Along with the changes brought about by advances in medical knowledge are the changes in patient attitudes and expectations—which are especially evident in the field of obstetrics. For centuries, issues related to pregnancy and giving birth were the realm of midwives. Even with the advent of modern medicine, the role of men was confined to male physicians. Over the previous decades, however, the presence of fathers in the delivery room and their assistance in the birthing process has evolved from being something novel  to something commonplace.

Dr. Linda Mathison-Ezieme is happy to accommodate these newer attitudes. In her work at the Virginia Center for Women, she offers unique birth experiences, such as allowing the mother or father to deliver the baby. “I deliver the head, then let the mother or father lift the baby out,” she explains. “Patients will say to me, ‘I heard you let moms deliver their babies; I want to do that!’ More and more, pregnant women come to the office with a birth plan. Usually, I am able to accommodate most of what the patient wants; of course, it depends on the circumstances of the birth.”

“I deliver the head,
then let the mother or father
lift the baby out. Patients will say to me,
‘I heard you let moms deliver their babies;
I want to do that!’...
Usually, I am able to accommodate
most of what the patient wants; of course,
it depends on the circumstances of the birth.”

—Dr. Linda Mathison-Ezieme

Those circumstances are, of course, unique for each pregnancy; but as varied as they may be, as medical knowledge has advanced, the Virginia Center for Women has remained steadfast in its commitment to the health and well-being of each and every patient.

The practice is dedicated to helping women and their families preserve a lifetime of good health. Services offered include prenatal care and deliveries, annual wellness exams, contraceptive and menopause counseling, infertility evaluations and treatment, urogynecology, and treatment of fibroids. The physicians all agree that the intended result is that each patient benefits from their skills through the least invasive procedures possible and gets the outcomes they expected.   

Derwin Gray, MD

Derwin Gray, MD

Dr. Gray’s special interest is in the area of high-risk obstetrics among patients with conditions such as diabetes and hormonal irregularities. Such irregularities can be the source of issues later in life.  He explains that about a year ago, the Virginia Center for Women began offering a new therapy for post-menopausal women called the MonaLisa Touch. This therapy delivers gentle laser energy to the vaginal wall that stimulates a healing response, generating new collagen in the tissue and enhanced moisture levels in the vaginal canal. A typical course of treatment is three procedures, each done six weeks apart. It’s done in the office, is virtually painless, and patients experience no downtime and minimal side effects. “This is an effective, minimally invasive technique for women who experience symptoms such as dryness, itching, burning, bladder infections, or pain during intercourse,” Dr. Gray affirms.

Dr. Laureta is a generalist but has particular interest in pelvic floor surgery, which encompasses corrective surgery for conditions such as bladder and uterine prolapse. “I feel a responsibility to practice the way I would want my physician to treat me,” she explains.

“In residency, we experience many modalities, but we  learn our preferences and special interests, and then hone those skills.”

All three physicians  know that it is important to talk with the patient and include her in decision-making. “It’s important to stay up-to-date with the Standards of Care and ensure they are applied to patient care,” Dr, Laureta continues. “With the ease of access to health information, it is vital that we practice evidence-based medicine and explain the why and the how of treatment options.”

“I feel a responsibility to practice
 the way I would want
my physician to treat me.”

—Dr. Lenny Laureta

The Virginia Center for Women is the only practice in the region in which all physicians perform advanced surgeries utilizing the latest in surgical and robotic techniques: the daVinci robot. As a result, the surgeon is able to operate with enhanced vision, precision, and control. Surgeries are conducted at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.

The Virginia Center for Women is pleased to announce that they once again accept Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, starting May 1, 2018. “The temporary elimination of that coverage in  November was very difficult for our patients,” Dr. Mathison explains. “The majority of them stuck with us, even though they had to pay more out-of-pocket expenses. We are glad this situation was resolved; that will ease the financial stress put on the women we serve. Our staff works diligently to identify appropriate insurance coverage and minimize the patients’ expense as much as possible.”

The Virginia Center for Women also has a location in Nags Head with services that are identical to those offered in Chesapeake.

The practice has been in existence for nearly 50 years,  and the physicians are now treating multiple generations from the same family. One patient says, “I’ve been going to Virginia Center for Women for 24 years. I’ve traveled from North Carolina and Richmond just to go to this practice! All staff goes above and beyond to help. The physicians are more than doctors; they are like friends. My mother and two of my daughters are Dr. Gray’s patients. I always refer this practice! They all treat you like family and not just a patient.”

Virginia Center for Women

1101 Madison Plaza
Chesapeake, VA 23320