Dr. Ann S. Collins, a highly regarded Obstetrician and Gynecologist in Raleigh, has agreed to serve as chair of the UNC REX Healthcare board. Collins is the first woman to hold the position. Her appointment comes as UNC REX celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2019.
“UNC REX has been the leading hospital in Wake County for 125 years,” Collins said. “I believe strongly in the hospital and its mission to provide outstanding care in our community. UNC REX has proven that it’s able to adapt and change as medicine continues to evolve.”
Collins practices with Centre OB/GYN in Raleigh, and specializes in general obstetrics and gynecology. Since she began practicing at UNC REX in 1995, she has delivered thousands of babies and helped treat thousands of women of all ages.
She succeeds Robert Thomas, who served as chair of the UNC REX board since 2004.
“As UNC REX marks its 125th anniversary, we are pleased that our new chair is a physician with Dr. Collins’ reputation for excellence,” said Steve Burriss, president of UNC REX. “She’s a strong leader and a caring and compassionate clinician, which is the perfect combination to help lead UNC REX into the future.”
Collins is a native of Elm City, N.C. She completed her undergraduate studies at Duke University and earned her Medical Degree at Duke’s School of Medicine. She graduated from Duke Magna Cum Laude and was a member of Duke University School of Medicine Honor Society. Collins completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
Collins and her husband have two children.
Five Questions with Dr. Ann Collins
Q: Why did you get into medicine?
A: I always was a science person and the human body is the ultimate “machine.” I was and am fascinated by human development and physiology and the interaction of so many systems that work so well most of the time. I am also a people person. I really enjoy the chance to interact with patients and make a difference in their lives. I get to go home at the end of the day and sometimes I have really changed someone’s life. That is just remarkable and also incredibly humbling to be able to interact so closely with people and have that level of trust. I can help alleviate their pain or give them a reason for their concerns and then treat them!
Q: What’s the most rewarding about OB/GYN?
A: What is more of a miracle than the birth of a baby? A mother and a father, a nurse and a physician in the room and then there is another human being there who is crying that beautiful first-born sound. So delivering babies is incredibly rewarding but as important for me is the relationships that I build with my patients. As an OB/GYN you often age with your patients, so I get to catch up on what my patient’s children are doing and how their spouses are. Many times I have been a part of their joy but also a part of difficult times in their lives and seeing them through all of it keeps me going. It’s like catching up with friends.
Q: What excites you about the future of UNC REX?
A: UNC REX always strives to be the best organization it can be but still maintain that community hospital feel. We never settle for second-best. I don’t see that ever changing. We are here to provide not just for the patients of Wake County but also for patients in our region and beyond. The institution continues to grow and offer innovative new procedures and treatments such as the interventional n neurology service, the oncology services and cardiovascular services, as well as our other areas.
I am excited for the addition of our hospital in Holly Springs, which will help us reach the people in that area and give them services closer to home. The new cancer center will help us expand our crowded oncology services and allow us to reach even more patients in need. Our relationship with UNC Health Care allows us to work collaboratively to improve health care in this region.
Of course, I still see us supporting healthy living in our community.
Q: What are some of the challenges you see for medicine in the next 5-10 years?
A: In the next 5-10 years, health care will change as it has in the past 5-10 years. We are being evaluated more and more on quality of care and that will mean keeping patients healthier and out of the hospital. For years medicine has been in “fix it” mode. Now we are going to have to be in “prevent it” mode — a complete paradigm shift with hospitals and primary care working even more closely.
All of us in health care will need to figure out how to utilize technology more efficiently and how to “talk” to other systems so we don’t duplicate labs or tests and we share information. I think we have to look at the future of rural health as well and how to keep communities in less-populated areas well-served, be it boots-on-the-ground providers or referrals to larger hospitals. We have to have programs that allow patients to access the system.
Lastly, mental health and addiction are areas that are grossly underserved. We in health care and the government have to find better ways to offer treatment opportunities that are affordable and accessible. Our mental health patients do not need to be sitting in emergency departments for days.
Q: When you’re not at work, what are some of the things you enjoy doing?
A: I love to travel and especially relaxing on the beach with a good book! I tell my husband that I’ve never seen beach I didn’t like. I also enjoy college basketball and especially look forward to March Madness. And when you spend many hours in the hospital and office, sometimes it’s nice to be at home with your family as well enjoying a good meal and quality time.