hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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May 2, 2013

City doctor receives award for excellence and innovation

Honored for improving women's health care

Gynecologist Melinda Birdsall, MD, said women of all socioeconomic backgrounds should have access to quality health care, so a year ago she left academic medicine to work at Merrimack Valley Hospital.

There, she is developing a comprehensive gynecology program for the Merrimack Valley, a diverse and underserved community north of Boston, she said.

For her efforts in leading the new program, Birdsall was named the recipient of the second annual Richard Ireland Award for Excellence and Innovation in Women’s Health. The national award recognizes a person actively working to advance women’s health in the community or the United States.

Advancements can be in the field of technology innovation, program development, research, access to care or the reduction of disparities. The award was presented April 9 at the fourth annual World Congress Leadership Summit on the Business of Women’s Health in National Harbor, Maryland.

”Dr. Birdsall is extremely deserving of this award and, on behalf of the entire hospital and medical staff, I am pleased to congratulate her on this national accomplishment,” said Lester Schindel, president of Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill and Holy Family Hospital in Methuen. “In a little more than a year, she has made significant strides in educating women about female health issues and creating a comprehensive gynecological program. Her dedication to women’s health isn’t by accident, it’s with intention.’’

With more than 20 years of experience, Birdsall provides a wide scope of gynecological care at Merrimack Valley Hospital. She said she chose that location because it’s more affordable to treat people at a community hospital and gives them easier access to care.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to return to the Merrimack Valley and to be a part of Steward Health Care,” Birdsall said. “I really feel I can make a difference in the community.”

The World Health Care Congress Leadership Summit Series addresses the cutting-edge issues for health care executives across a wide range of industry sectors, hospital officials said. Designed to expand on topics discussed at invitation-only summits during the World Health Care Congress, this series offers new perspectives on established methodologies and details solutions to foster innovation and change. For more information, visit online at www.worldcongress.com.

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