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PBMC to launch new women’s and children’s unit to expand care across North Fork

Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead will launch a new women’s and children’s unit as part of its initiative to advance health services on the North Fork.

The unit will provide women with access to fertility experts and menopause specialists, according to a press release sent out by the hospital

The initiative is being led by Dr. Brian McKenna, an obstetrician and gynecologist of over 30 years. After working with Northwell to expand its women’s health program at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, he was invited to do the same for the services Northwell and PBMC provide patients in eastern Suffolk County as managing director of women’s health.

“We want to be a health care system and not a sick care system,” Dr. McKenna said. “Health care is all about relationships and communication and encouraging patients to help themselves and offering preventative services, and this is really the engine that’s driving this mission.”

The first phase of the initiative is to expand labor and delivery facilities and recruit new personnel and clinicians to PBMC, according to the press release.

The recruitment of experts in maternal-fetal medicine, reproductive endocrinology and infertility will complement the growing breast medicine and urogynecology programs already offered at the hospital.

The expansion will also include enhancing services at Northwell offices in areas surrounding PBMC, according to Dr. McKenna.

“We’ve already gotten a lot of patients to notice us and to come in and we’re hoping to really grow that practice as well as Riverhead, Manorville, Greenport,” he said. “We have places operational there now, all need to be enhanced and all are scheduled to be enhanced.”

Dr. McKenna also plans to incorporate mental health providers into OB/GYN practices to address any related issues that may arise in a woman’s life, such as postpartum depression, anxiety disorders and stress, according to the press release.

There is no firm schedule for the expansion at this time, according to Dr. McKenna,

“I think it’s going to happen sooner rather than later, but I don’t have a definitive time frame,” he said.

Although the East End has been traditionally underserved in women’s health care, through this expansion, Dr. McKenna hopes this expansion will raise awareness of Northwell’s efforts to bring high-level care to the East End community.

“A lot of people currently are driving past Peconic Bay, around to Stony Brook, or to St. Charles, for example, [and] it’s a long trip for them,” he said. “There’s really no reason for many of those patients to go that way. It’s just a matter of education and information dissemination to the people of the East End about the high level of care that’s offered at Peconic Bay.”

Dr. McKenna and the PBMC team will also be conducting a comprehensive educational series throughout Suffolk County to educate women of all ages about health screenings and provide insight into medical care, according to the press release.

The first scheduled event will be a Facebook Live Q&A with Dr. McKenna and PBMC executive director Amy Loeb. The session will be livestreamed Thursday, June 30, at 2:30 p.m. on PBMC’s Facebook page.