For Wendy Martinez, MD, few things are more important than education.
When a medical provider properly informs a patient, they can make decisions together. Equipped with the right knowledge, a patient can advocate for not only the care that they need, but also the care that they want.
“I enjoy teaching women. I like them to make informed decisions about their health,” Dr. Martinez says. “And if they don’t have the right information, they can’t make the right decisions. There’s too much false information out there.”
This is Dr. Martinez’s philosophy of care at her practice, Advocare The Women’s Group for OB/GYN, located on Evesham Road in Voorhees. The woman-staffed obstetrics and gynecology practice grew from a need Dr. Martinez recognized early in her career while working with two male physicians.
She found that patients, shortly after having annual exams with one of her male colleagues, would return for a second appointment with her simply to ask their questions surrounding gynecologic issues, sex or menopause.
“I realized there was a specific niche here, that women, as they got older, were afraid to ask the men their questions. They were embarrassed,” Dr. Martinez reflects. “There was a real need for women to be in the field so [patients] can ask these questions.”
She branched off in 1991, opening her own woman-led practice that would later become The Women’s Group. Business was bustling from the start, with Dr. Martinez working five days a week in the office in addition to performing surgery and delivering babies.
“I did more deliveries myself than we did in a three-person practice,” she said.
On top of her day job (which could easily become a night job depending on when a baby decided to make its arrival), Dr. Martinez was also speaking at high schools about sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and prevention.
“I’m very much into education,” Dr. Martinez said. “I always want people to be informed.”
She then decided to delve deeper into studying menopause and lecturing others on the topic, and became a certified menopause practitioner through the North American Menopause Society.
“Back in the 1990s, no one really knew about menopause. No one specialized in it, and in the state of New Jersey, there was really no one certified in it,” Dr. Martinez said. “Needless to say, that’s why I took on more physicians over the course of the years. I was extremely busy.”
Today, The Women’s Group is staffed with four midwives, three nurse practitioners and two physicians, with recruitment underway to bring more on board after recent retirements and moves.
The longevity among Dr. Martinez’s staff is a boon for patients, who often call and ask for office assistants by name. In fact, most of the medical and office assistants have been with The Women’s Group for 20-plus years. This goes for the midwives and nurse practitioners, too. Dr. Martinez says everyone “brings something a little different” to the table.
“The practice could not succeed without an excellent staff,” she says. “I give credit to my staff and the practitioners.”
For Dr. Martinez, everything is rewarding when considering her career. She enjoys helping her patients, whether it’s for a routine appointment or a specialized surgery. Being able to go above and beyond—for instance, she has helped diagnose a number of thyroid cancers through her routine patient exams—is especially gratifying.
“Making these diagnoses, a lot of times not even in my field, is rewarding,” says Dr. Martinez. “I’ve diagnosed thyroid cancers, thyroid nodules, abdominal tumors.”
In performing rectal exams on patients, she has picked up on colon cancer, too.
“It’s cancers that aren’t our usual cancers,” she explains.
The way obstetrics and gynecology involves many facets of health care through all walks of life drew Dr. Martinez to the specialty: “I like the continuity of care. You’re not only delivering patients’ babies. You could be taking care of them from their teenage years, college years, when they get married, when they get older.”
Having considered specializing in general surgery, the fact that OB-GYN includes performing surgery was another draw for Dr. Martinez. She also enjoys the psychiatric side of the specialty, in listening to her patients and helping to uncover—and solve—their problems.
“In OB-GYN, you get a little bit of everything,” Dr. Martinez says. “I don’t think another specialty is like that.”
Dr. Martinez loves what she does, so when she’s asked if she sees retirement on the horizon, she has an easy answer.
“Not really,” she says with a laugh. “I enjoy what I’m doing. I plan to keep going on. I really don’t have any reason to think about retiring.”
Advocare The Women's Group for OB/GYN
2301 E. Evesham Road, Building 800, Suite 122, Voorhees