Women to Watch Awards Finalists- Health
Meet the 2022 finalists
Doula & Breastfeeding Peer Counselor,
Wanting to connect with and help other mothers in similar situations with breastfeeding, Kendra Bentley set out to create a local Facebook group to do just that. Run by five volunteer administrators, all with Wilmington ties and a shared experience of breastfeeding issues, the group currently serves 2,000-plus members in the Port City and surrounding areas. Participation jumped during the recent formula shortages. The group’s purpose is to bring support and breast milk to families in need. This is accomplished with the donations of women’s oversupplies of milk. “There are no donation fees and all donors have the option to ask for replacement bags for pumping the milk but no money can be involved,” Bentley says. Besides being a mother of four, Bentley is a trained doula who often also offers pro bono birthing doula services to families in need. Bentley is a member of Cape Fear Area Doulas.
President & Co-Founder,
Physician Jennifer Nomides has been working for the past seven years as an inpatient care specialist at Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Additionally, she’s been medical director for Horizons Health, Coastal Horizons Center’s primary care service. She serves as the medical director for Kythoni Inc., a nonprofit founded by her parent. Through Kythoni, she partnered with AID International to open a free-standing clinic in a rural part of Haiti, and she also serves as medical director for that clinic. Recently Nomides, along with her sister Kristin Pleasant, a certified family nurse practitioner, co-founded Coastal Direct Health & Wellness in Leland. The clinic offers health care services at a modestly priced membership-based fees. “It is fun to be your own boss and in this particular model of health care delivery (Direct Primary Care), where we take out the frustrating insurance piece and get to work directly with patients, we have experienced much more fulfilling doctor-patient relationships which makes this job much more enjoyable,” Nomides says.
Co-Owner, Manager, & Physical Therapist
Before starting her own business, Christina Terry gained experience as a physical therapist in a variety of settings: nursing homes, home health, independent living facilities, and hospital acute care and inpatient rehab. Through that work, she knew her passion was working with seniors. In 2018, Terry became board-certified in geriatric physical therapy. In 2020, Terry and her husband opened Healthy Seniors Physical Therapy and Wellness. “As a physical therapist, I help people in pain, or recover from an injury or surgery, or help people with their dizziness, balance, or weakness issues – all to enable them to live their life to the fullest,” Terry says. “I also enjoy the ability to educate seniors on the importance of fall prevention and the benefits of exercise. The people that need exercise the most are the ones that do it the least – I like being part of that change in their mindset and seeing the results through that change.”
Forensic Interviewer & Therapist,
Being an advocate for children is something Gina Warren has done her whole career. Beginning as an educator, Warren advanced to working with children with behavior and other challenges. While working on her graduate degree, she interned at The Carousel Center, the region’s only nationally accredited, nonprofit Child Advocacy Center that provides child medical exams, forensic interviews, confidential professional trauma counseling, and caregiver support to children and their families who have experienced physical/sexual abuse. While Warren’s work involves confidentiality, she does what she can to educate others – be they team members, law enforcement, or community members – to inform them how they can help. She researches cases when something has not sat right with her and has provided information to the center’s partners that led to cases being reopened. People are uncomfortable discussing child abuse, but Warren does so in a knowledgeable, yet compassionate way to bring such issues of reality to light.
Co-Founder & Co-Owner,
Working in a chemotherapy room as a nurse in 2010, Courtney Wilson had an extraordinary idea – one that seemed so simple yet necessary. Wilson realized the need for a shirt specifically designed for treatment-day patients – one that had a two-zipper chest design that allows easier access to chest ports and other implanted devices for chemotherapy and dialysis patients. This is an idea that is beneficial to both the patients and nurses. Beginning with shirts made by hand, Wilson has grown her idea to be mass-produced and sent around the country and Canada, with many more global requests coming in. “Since conception, Courtney has successfully grown the company every single year, and her products are trusted by our nation’s leading cancer centers,” says oncology pharmacist Greg Dowless, Wilson’s business partner in ComfyChemo LLC. Wilson stands behind the vision of the company – to make treatment days easier for patients. prices.
To view the Women to Watch Awards Finalists main page, click here.
To view more of photographer Madeline Gray’s work, go to madelinegrayphoto.com.
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