CHARLOTTE – In 1990, Janice Martin of Mooresville, North Carolina, came to Charlotte’s Bradford Clinic for OB-GYN care when she was pregnant with her first child. Her daughter, Alexa Martin, was born in January 1991 at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center. (Back then, it was Presbyterian Hospital, and Alexa was one of what’s come to be called “Presby babies,” a refrain commonly heard across Charlotte.)
Janice, a nurse, and her husband, Wilson Martin Jr., used the then-emerging in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology to conceive Alexa. To do that, they had to go to an IVF clinic in Atlanta. Alexa said her mom wanted the best care available close to home, and she found it at the Bradford Clinic, even though it meant driving across the county to get there.
Now, Janice’s miracle baby is a physician herself and is working at Novant Health Bradford Clinic OB/GYN.
The Bradford Clinic, founded in 1936, has a storied history in Charlotte. While Alexa has been working as a physician at the Bradford Clinic about six months, many of her patients have been coming much longer. She recently saw a woman who’s been a Bradford patient since the 1980s.
Alexa recalled hearing about the clinic from her mom. “They took really good care of her,” she said. “My mom was very nervous, in part because my parents had done IVF. I think my mom had a lot of questions throughout her pregnancy, and they were always reassuring.”
Janice was a nurse, so Alexa was exposed to the medical field as a child and knew she wanted to work in health care. It was while in college that she decided to pursue medicine. During an OB-GYN rotation in her third year at Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine, she knew she’d found her calling. She loved the variety the specialty offered – delivering babies one day, in clinic the next, performing surgery the day after that.
Alexa applied to multiple medical school programs and was “blown away” when she interviewed at Campbell. “I would choose Campbell over and over again,” she said of the school, located between Raleigh and Fayetteville. She liked the osteopathic approach to caring for the whole person – body, mind and spirit and became a DO, or doctor of osteopathic medicine.
Patients may not notice a difference in seeing a DO versus an MD. “We look at all aspects of a patient’s life – not just their physical health,” she said. “That includes their emotional and mental state. I don’t get the opportunity to use OMT (osteopathic manipulation treatment) as much I’d like. But if a patient requests it, I can definitely help. OMT is another tool in my toolbox.”
OMT is a hands-on treatment that involves correcting structural imbalances in the body, improving circulation and relieving muscle, tendon or bone pain.
Alexa’s clinical interests include infertility, abnormal uterine bleeding and pre-natal care – something she describes as “working with patients to be sure they’re at their healthiest before they conceive or deliver.”
“With infertility, if it’s an ovulation or structural issue, that’s something I often treat,” she added. “If a patient needs further intervention or possibly IVF, I’ll make a referral to our local REI (reproductive endocrinology and infertility) specialists.”
But she enjoys initiating the process. “I can be there to hold their hand, start the journey and help them achieve their goals of becoming a parent,” she said.
Advances in OB-GYN care
There have been so many advances in OB-GYN care since Janice Martin was pregnant, Alexa noted. “We have better ultrasound and diagnostic technologies, improved fetal monitoring and have learned how to better care for high-risk obstetric patients. GYN surgery has come such a long way. We now have robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery, which gives the physician better visualization and range of motion in potentially complex cases. And we’re still discovering things that can improve OB-GYN outcomes.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is Bradford’s commitment to caring for women, including expectant moms.
The level of personal care and attention sets Bradford apart, Alexa said: “We’ve been around for nearly 90 years. I think that shows the amount of care we put into every patient encounter. I could feel how special this place was from my first interview. Every person, from the front desk staff to the physicians, genuinely cares about our patients, their health, their families, their lives in general.”
Today, Bradford has expanded beyond its roots in heart of historic Myers Park. The clinic’s three locations are near Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, in Matthews and in Ballantyne.
Alexa is thrilled to be back at the place that literally gave birth to her. “I was so excited when I found out Bradford was hiring,” she said. “My husband – a Raleigh native – and I love being in North Carolina. It feels good to be taking care of patients here and to be back home.”