Imagine being a new mom and finding out you can have your baby’s first well visit and your own postpartum visit in the same clinic room with the same primary care provider.
Combined Mom and Baby visits
That provider is Ines Teuma, MD, who specializes in Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Family Medicine with a focus in Pediatrics at CHI St. Alexius Health Williston's Primary Care Clinic. “It’s so much easier and more convenient for mom and baby,” she said. “I have been promoting more for postpartum and newborn well child visits to combine the two.”
Dr. Teuma enjoys providing care across a wide spectrum. “Seeing pediatric and adult patients and delivering babies is very rewarding. That’s the reason I did my medical training the way I did,” she said.
Originally from Central Africa, Dr. Teuma knew by age 12 that she wanted to take care of people. “It’s very cliche but I like being helpful and I wanted to take care of patients. For me it’s fulfilling to care for others,” she said. “My dad started telling me, ‘You should be a doctor,” and I thought, yes, that sounds good.”
After receiving her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Miramar, Florida, Dr. Teuma completed her residency training in Family Medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and trained in Obstetrics and Women’s Health at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, New York, where she said the winters rivaled North Dakota’s. “I did a surgical obstetrics fellowship there, so I’m trained not only in vaginal but also surgical delivery and to provide high-risk obstetrics care.”
The ability to be helpful on several levels is what drew Dr. Teuma to Williston. “I came here for the opportunity to use all of my medical training,” she said. “I love it, for me it’s a way to grow and expand. I constantly challenge and improve myself.”
Dr. Teuma structured her clinic schedule so on some days she sees only Ob-Gyn and Women’s Health patients, and on some days she sees only Family Medicine and Pediatrics patients.
“I put a lot of emphasis on pediatric care.” she said. “One quarter of my patient visits are for well child and sick child visits.” Dr. Teuma is also on (Obstetrics) call at the hospital some days. “I like the hospital setting,” she said. “It’s a different environment and it requires different skills.”
The opportunity to teach OB residents also drew her to CHI St. Alexius Health.
She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at UND School of Medicine, and thus participates in the training of the residents. “That teaching part is important to me. I want to remain challenged and share that knowledge with residents,” she said.
Dr. Teuma recalled a particularly interesting case of a patient who did a surprising 180-degree turn.
The prospective mom had been laboring at home with a midwife for 48 hours. Due to the baby’s heart rate, the couple was urged to go to the hospital for care. There, they met Dr. Teuma for the first time. “They were reluctant. She and her husband were very skeptical. They didn’t like doctors,” Dr. Teuma said. “Ultimately we found we both had the same intent, to have a safe delivery, and they finally agreed to have a C-section as the labor was not going well.”
Two months later, Dr. Teuma had a patient come in for a well woman visit to establish care, and was surprised to find it was that same skeptical mom. “She said you actually made me change my mind about hospitals and doctors. She said you could have brushed us off because of our preconceived notions. From there on she started having more faith in doctors and nurses."
She decided to learn spanish to connect better with her patients.
To Dr. Teuma, it’s all about connecting with patients. It’s why she also decided to learn Spanish.
“My first language is French. When I came to the United States, I thought a lot of people speak Spanish in the US so if I want to care for them, I should learn Spanish,” she said. “Spanish is not only similar to French but the next language I need to learn.” Some basic Spanish with a concentration on medical terms comes in handy in Williston. “Patients feel more comfortable to see a provider who speaks their language and will open up to me,” she said.
Dr. Teuma enjoys her free time in Williston.
In her free time in Williston, Dr. Teuma enjoys jogging, as long as it’s at least 35 degrees outside and says 50-degree days are ideal. She played basketball in college and now plays a few times a month at the college with veterans who previously played competitively.
A local family took Dr. Teuma under their wing and invite her to events, and she enjoys friendship with her colleagues. “I have good connections and a balanced life,” she said.
She returns home with medical supplies a couple of weeks each year.
Dr. Teuma returns to the Republic of Cameroon for a couple of weeks each year, bringing along donated medical supplies for rural clinics. She hopes to expand on this effort with a mission trip in the future. “It doesn’t take much to make a difference,” she said.