The Heart of a Young Doctor: Dr. Rachel Love
Published on March 21, 2017 by VWC
Midlothian OB/GYN Rachel K. Love, M.D. joined Virginia Women’s Center in 2015. She’s known for her warm and compassionate approach to care. Dr. Love passionately cares for women from their first period to their last hot flash and beyond. But, there are three elements of her practice that are especially close to her heart.
Building deep trust with all her patients, especially teens
The most rewarding part of her work as an OB/GYN, Dr. Love says, is the relationships she builds with her patients. “No matter whether it’s relieving someone from their fibroids or delivering a baby after a couple struggled with infertility or prior miscarriage, it’s absolutely the personal bond and the connection that you make,” she says. Patients feel like they can share their concerns, their fears and their hopes with Dr. Love.
A big part of Dr. Love’s practice is treating teenagers. “I love working with adolescents because it’s such an impressionable time tin their life,” she says. “I may be one of their first doctor’s visits other than a pediatrician.” And if that first visit is a positive one, it lays the foundation for a lifetime of care. Dr. Love wants her young patients to feel respected, empowered about their reproductive health, and comfortable talking about sensitive topics, such as managing heavy or painful periods. “Hey, I was there once,” she says. “I remember those days.”
Serving as a Spanish-speaking OB/GYN in Richmond
While a resident at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Dr. Love delivered babies for several patients who had received prenatal care at CrossOver Healthcare Ministry, a nonprofit clinic that serves low-income, uninsured patients. CrossOver cares for a primarily Hispanic and Middle Eastern population that has no other way to access healthcare. Dr. Love, who speaks medical Spanish, helped put frightened patients at ease by enabling them to talk about their health in their native language.
Dr. Love enjoyed working with the CrossOver patients so much that in 2016, she began volunteering at the clinic. One current patient had suffered years of pain from an ovarian cyst and needed surgery. With the help of the Access Now program, Dr. Love was able to get the patient’s procedure covered. At last, she was able to get the surgery she needed. “It feels good when you can help someone who otherwise wouldn’t be able to gain access to medical care,” Dr. Love says.
Volunteering with Midwives for Haiti
Most overseas medical missions follow the same format: volunteer doctors arrive, work feverishly for a few weeks seeing patients, then depart. Dr. Love was looking for something different—an overseas program that offered continuity and created meaningful, long-lasting change. She found that opportunity in Midwives for Haiti, a Richmond-based nonprofit that trains Haitian midwives and birth attendants. Since 2006, the organization has trained 124 skilled birth attendants—about 17 percent of the total skilled providers working in Haiti. The eventual goal, Dr. Love explains, “would be that they don’t need us anymore.”
In 2016, Dr. Love made her first volunteer trip to Haiti. She was called on to perform one C-section while a handful of Haitian students watched. At the end, they giggled, Dr. Love recalls. She asked why. “Because you were a woman,” she was told, “and you did a good job.” They had never seen a female surgeon before — but after that, they knew it was possible.
Dr. Love cares for patients at our Midlothian office located at 13801 St. Francis Boulevard, Midlothian, VA 23114. Call 804.288.4084 to schedule an appointment with her. At CrossOver and Midwives for Haiti, Dr. Love volunteers alongside numerous other Virginia Women’s Center providers and staff.