On February 6, 2019, the Pamela Muma Women’s Health Center, located in the USF Health South Tampa Center for Advanced Health Care, opened its doors to women across the Tampa Bay area who were seeking quality, personalized health care. Local philanthropist Pamela Muma’s $2 million gift in 2017 has been transformational for the women of Tampa Bay.
Since opening a year ago, the center now has seen a steady increase in membership with now more than 100 members being seen by its physicians. The center has also had the opportunity to add more female physicians with specialties in breast surgery, plastic surgery, and otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), and will soon be adding a cardiologist and gastroenterologist. Patients may also see a pelvic floor physical therapist and a massage therapist, and acupuncture will be available soon.
Dr. Denise Edwards, lead physician for the Pamela Muma Women’s Health Center, has been a faculty member at USF Health for 14 years and completed her residency at the Morsani College of Medicine. Before joining the inaugural team at the center, Dr. Edwards developed and directed the USF Health Healthy Weight Clinic and for three years, was the medical director for the USF Health Monsour Executive Wellness Center.
“From the start, our goal has been to provide a comfortable, welcoming place for women to receive their primary care and, more importantly, to know that their healthcare needs of all variety are being met. We are available 24/7, we always have same day appointments available, and our staff know all of our patients so nothing gets lost in the shuffle or slips if one person happens to be away. Because we have fewer patients than a traditional primary care practice, we are able to keep track of our patients’ specialty appointments and follow up problems in a timelier manner. We have had women who have had unexpected unfortunate diagnoses, but we have been able to very quickly have them see the people they needed to see and have the testing that they needed completed,” said Dr. Edwards.
The personalized health care offered by the Pamela Muma Women’s Health Center has already seen lives changed, specifically in the case of patient Bonnie Wise, who was treated for thyroid cancer last year. After learning of her diagnosis, Wise recalled a presentation that she attended, given by Pam Muma, about the center and quickly retrieved the brochure that she had saved for three months. Wise called the center, met with Dr. Edwards and the staff, and became a member that day.
“The staff was incredible during my thyroid cancer journey, they not only helped to schedule and explain the various tests and procedures, but immediately connected me with an incredible surgeon. It’s not only the medical support that’s provided by the caring staff that I appreciate as a member, but also the assistance through the ups and downs and mental anguish that comes from an unexpected diagnosis,” said Wise. “I am grateful to the entire team for every phone call, email and referral. It’s because of that one presentation, that one brochure, and the center filled with support that I am moving forward to a healthy recovery.”
In just a year, the center’s health care model has already shown to have benefitted patients, as well as the physicians, and will continue to grow to fit the needs of the women of Tampa Bay.
“As a physician, this is the ideal way to practice medicine. I feel so fortunate to be able to spend so much time with each patient and to be able to quickly follow up on all of their specialty appointments and procedures. We also have access to a wide variety of medical specialties within USF Health, and this makes it even more efficient for the patients to receive the care they need,” said Dr. Edwards. “Mrs. Muma’s gift has allowed us to provide a place for women to have their needs taken care of because we know that they are so often the caregivers for others at the expense of their own health.”
The center is still accepting membership applications and will serve about a third of the amount patients seen at a typical primary care office.