For a combined 35 years, nurse practitioners Dede Chism and Abby Sinnett have cared for women beyond their physical needs. They have reassured worried mothers during high-risk pregnancies; embraced wives and girlfriends suffering from abuse; and lifted up and nurtured women when they felt ashamed, dehumanized or simply alone.
“All of us have a story,” Sinnett said. “We’re all broken and we all need care that embraces us.”
The mother-daughter team of Chism, a perinatal nurse practitioner and parishioner of Holy Name Parish in Englewood, and Sinnett, a women’s health nurse practitioner and parishioner at St. Frances Cabrini in Littleton, have been working together since 2012 to establish a comprehensive medical practice that honors the dignity of women. They will reach that goal when opening Bella Natural Women’s Care Nov. 1.
“All women deserve excellent health care,” Chism said from the facility’s site at 180 E. Hampden Ave., the former Bank of Englewood building, where construction began June 1. “All women deserve to be treated with dignity.”
The practice will specialize in obstetrics, gynecology, infertility and contributing health issues, through conventional and natural methods in line with Church teaching.
“We’re working with a system that naturally is good,” Sinnett said of God’s design for women. “We’ll embrace what is naturally good … (and when there are problems) get to the root cause, versus masking a problem with more hormones.”
The clinic—located in a 4,000-square-foot space with seven care rooms, an ultrasound room, a consultation area, space for procedures and lab work, and a chapel—will provide gynecological care, obstetrics care, annual exams, breast exams, health management and weight management.
“As women reevaluate what they’re putting in their bodies, buying organic beef or growing their own vegetables,” Sinnett said, they are also questioning the effects of artificial methods of health care and considering more natural choices.
Both Chism and Sinnett received training at the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Neb. The institute, founded by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers in 1985, challenges mainstream medicine’s use of artificial reproductive technology by developing natural and morally acceptable options. It is internationally recognized for developing the Creighton Model FertilityCare System and NaPro (natural procreative) Technology, used to diagnose and treat reproductive and gynecological problems with medical and surgical approaches.
Dr. Steve Hickner, a Catholic OB/GYN with 25 years experience, will join the team in December after completing a one-year fellowship in medical and surgical NaPro Technology under Hilgers’ direction. He has long been interested in Hilgers’ philosophy and technology, including robotic surgery, to provide less invasive treatments for women.
“We have to be aware of mind, body and spirit when we direct our care and healing,” Hickner told the Register from Omaha in a phone conversation. “We have to be technically savvy—not only reaching out as technicians, but also recognizing Christ in every person.”
Hickner’s wife, Carol, a registered nurse, will join the Bella staff as well. In addition to Chism, Sinnett and the Hickners, staff will include a midwife, ultrasound sonographer, more registered nurses, fertility care practitioners and medical assistants.
“We want people to be whole,” Chism said. “Everything we do will be with intent, whether we’re delivering good news, bad news or scary news; we will walk with people in serious issues.”
The practice, supported by Archbishop Samuel Aquila, is currently accepting patients and welcomes women of all faiths, ages and income levels. The nonprofit group accepts insurance as well as Medicaid. For more information, visit www.BellaNWC.org, call 720-583-4937 or email info@BellaNWC.org.
Q: What does “bella” mean?
A: In Italian and Spanish the word “bella” means beautiful. In Latin, it means war. The founders of Bella Natural Women’s Center see this as a fitting name for their health care center as it will stand up for the dignity and reverence of women in a culture where it is regularly challenged.
Bella Natural Women’s Care
Opening: Nov. 1
Physical address: 180 E. Hampden Ave., Englewood (block west of Swedish Medical Center)
Mailing address: 26 W. Dry Creek Circle – No. 600, Littleton CO 80120