2016 Most Influential Women Honoree: Dr. Shelly Meents
Dr. Shelly Meents’ proudest professional accomplishment is simple: loving her job.
“I truly enjoy the practice of OB/GYN medicine and the privilege of taking care of women of all ages and all stages of life,” says Meents, physician and managing partner of Bolivar OB/GYN. “With my years of experience, I have been fortunate to be able to touch the lives of many women and their families.
“I have especially developed a strong desire to be a patient advocate to improve the lives of women and newborns.”
A graduate of Missouri State University, Meents earned her medical degree at St. Louis University School of Medicine. She has been affiliated with Citizens Memorial Hospital since 2005 and with her practice since 2006. Bolivar OB/GYN is a division of Signature Medical Group Inc., a multi-specialty practice with more than 150 doctors in more than 50 locations throughout Missouri.
Meents is proud of the direction her practice has taken in addressing the issues some patients face that can affect medical care and outcomes. Bolivar OB/GYN received a grant through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services allowing for the creation of Strong Start, which places social workers in the medical setting to assist unmet social needs. Strong Start helps patients enroll in health insurance, assist with transportation, food pantry access – anything that can influence medical care. Pregnant and postpartum patients are followed up with during and after pregnancy.
Meents says her practice demonstrated such a program improved their goal of reducing the preterm delivery rate and the number of days in neonatal intensive care of newborns compared to the Missouri state average.
“Such outcomes are important for the health of our patients and their newborns as well as critical for reducing the costs of providing medical care,” Meents says, noting the office was the strongest practice within Signature Medical Group. “I am happy to be a strong advocate for Strong Start, because I have seen the improvement with my individual patients.”
She is a former chief of medical staff and former member of the medical executive committee at CMH. Meents is chairperson of the peer review committee and the surgical steering committee as well as an obstetrics physician advisor. Additionally, she sits on the board of Citizens Memorial Health Care Foundation, lending her medical insight to a group of people from diverse backgrounds.
“(Meents’) practice now offers much-needed outreach services to rural communities where there is limited access to women’s health services,” says Donald Babb, CEO of CMH and executive director of the hospital’s foundation. “Shelly is passionate about women’s health. Her experience and intimate understanding of the medical community is beneficial to growing our programs and contributing to the overall strategic plan for CMH.”
Whether in the exam room or the board room, Meents seeks to make a difference.
“In all of these roles, my goal in participating is to be a positive influence to continuously improve patient care,” she says. “My hope is that our hospital will continue to provide the best medical care to the public whom we are striving to serve.”