Empowering Women to Improve Their Health and Wellness
Dr. Deborah Chong says pursuing a medical specialty focused on women was a thoughtful, yet simple choice for her.
“Women are the cornerstone of society,” Dr. Chong explains. “Helping women get well empowers not only them, but also benefits their families and community.”
Born in Jamaica, Dr. Chong grew up there and in Toronto, Canada. She attended college at Columbia University in New York and graduated from medical school at Boston University. After completing her residency training at the University of Miami, she moved to California, working for UC Davis for a few years and then volunteering abroad in Africa and the Caribbean, developing an organization dedicated to gynecologic care for women before settling in Oakland, where she became the Chief of Gynecology at a local hospital. While in Oakland, Dr. Chong completed a fellowship in Herbal Medicine.
“After being in Oakland for ten years, at the start of the pandemic I knew it was time to move on,” she says. “My talent as a healer no longer lies in acute care, downstream medicine. Over time I had developed a more holistic approach and working at the hospital as an OB/GYN in the middle of the pandemic, my patients were not getting all that I had to offer. I want to help women get to the root cause of illness, not just put a band-aid on it.”
Dr. Chong says her family and the activities they enjoy together also played a factor. “My family has always spent a lot of time in the Sierra Nevada mountains and over time I realized I was driving 3-4 hours on weekends to get to the place I wanted to be, so when this opportunity opened up, I realized I could be living where I had actually been driving every weekend.”
That opportunity was the chance to join the OB/GYN practice at Dignity Health Medical Group – Sierra Nevada.
“I realized I wanted to live in a smaller city, and be closer to all the activities that we already enjoy, such as mountain biking and snowboarding,” Dr. Chong says. “I also wanted a place for my eight-year-old twins to have more freedom and to be outside more.”
Professionally, Dr. Chong has found that her passion is in partnering with her patients in an integrative approach to care. She aims to help “women achieve balance, wellness and cultivate resilience.”
She says she’s excited to bring her unique and patient-centered type of care to women in Nevada County.
“My approach to taking care of women is to meet my patient where she is,” Dr. Chong explains. “I want to take the approach of guidance, rather than telling a patient what to do. For most problems within OB/GYN, there exists more than one treatment option. I like to partner with my patients to come up with an achievable plan that will work with her lifestyle; suggestions and recommendations that will make her feel better, not just physically, but also emotionally.”
Dr. Chong encourages all her patients to be responsible for their own health – and she says that should start with what you eat and your lifestyle choices.
“Health and wellness begin with the individual,” she says. “It starts with leading a healthy lifestyle and eating a healthy diet. Then if something is not going well, if that balance is tipped, that’s where I come in.”
She believes that our lifestyle choices are even more important right now, during the pandemic.
“I believe that we can boost our immune systems to fight off all sorts of illnesses, not just COVID-19, through having a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle,” Dr. Chong explains. “The pandemic has affected us in so many ways, emotionally, socially and physically. I’ve seen some individuals feel inspired to get healthy during the pandemic, and others who have become more anxious and afraid – which is not good for your immune system and can make you more prone to illness. My job as a physician is to meet my patient where she is to help her through this difficult time.”
That help may include working together to relieve some stressors or suggesting some immune boosting supplements, Dr. Chong says.
Dr. Chong says she is passionate about using her unique skills and knowledge to help them address their unique challenges and needs.
“That is why I became a physician,” she says. “Medicine is the perfect blend of science and humanities – and I enjoy working with my hands in surgery, so I chose a specialty that could combine all three. I also love helping women. As a woman – a mom and a working woman, who has had ups and downs during her own life – I feel like I can really understand what many of my patients are going through.”
Dr. Deborah Chong, OB/GYN
Dignity Health Medical Group – Sierra Nevada
280 Sierra College Drive, Suite #115, Grass Valley
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Nevada County got some good news on Wednesday.