Personal: Dr Grooms was born in Gainesville, Georgia. She is married with two children, and says time with her family is the most important thing she does with her free hours. Her husband travels with his work, but she is a self-described homebody who loves curling up with a good book. Her faith is also very important to her, and she manifests this by singing with the praise band at her church.
Education: Dr Grooms attended medical school at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine after completing her Bachelor of Science at North Georgia College.
Work History: Her residency was at Palmetto Richland Hospital. Until the Center opening, Dr Grooms was a full-time pediatrician in the Columbia area for her entire professional career and she feels a deep connection to the community.
Focus of Her Work: She loves babies, and says the best part of her job is meeting with nervous, anxious families to help alleviate their fears. When asked what motivates her, she says “I want to make a difference. I want them to know that we are in this together and it’s okay not to have it all figured out right this minute. It’s a good feeling when they leave feeling more confident and reassured.”
Personal: Dr McCutcheon is a small-town girl, born and raised in Walterboro. She is married with two elementary school-aged sons. She is active in intramurals through her church (sometimes roped in by her husband), as well as running to keep in shape and for personal enjoyment. She loves to sew and is very interested in home decorating. She is also drawn to water and unwinds at either the lake or the beach.
Education: Dr McCutcheon attended the University of South Carolina Honor College where she earned a BS in Biology, and a Masters degree in Secondary Education. Her medical degree is from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.
Work History:Her professional path is very unique. She began her career as a science teacher at Spring Valley High School but knew she wanted more. After two years, she became a student again to follow her dream of becoming a doctor. Her residency was through Palmetto Richland, but she also completed a yearlong fellowship in Neonatology due to her interest in the very littlest and most fragile babies. Afterward, she worked with Eau Claire Pediatrics, before returning to her original love of teaching; training medical students and residents at Palmetto Richland. Her practice area was the Special Care Nursery along with Mother-Baby Care on the Baby Friendly Unit.
Focus of Her Work: A review of Dr McCutcheons career reveals a deep connection to children, especially those who don’t yet have a voice. There is also a natural affinity to both learning and teaching. Her particular interest is the late preterm baby, born 34-37 weeks; also known as “The Great Pretenders” for their little recognized care needs. She says “I really enjoy meeting with families and providing education and information to help them make decisions and get things figured out. I just think that is important to spend that time with them.”
Personal: Denise was born in Kansas City, Kansas but spent most of her childhood in Columbia; and has remained here ever since. She is married with a son and twin daughters; all in the process of making her an empty nester. Denise loves to read; preferably with a cat on her lap and a mug of hot tea beside her. She also enjoys cooking, baking, and talking on the phone with her sister or friends.
Education: Denise became an LPN through Midlands Technical College in 1992, and obtained her RN through New York State University in 1994.
Work History: Denise worked for Palmetto Richland in the early 90’s as a new grad, and also was part of the opening team for Providence NE when they offered maternity services in their brand new hospital in 1999. In 2004, she became the first private practice lactation consultant in the Midlands; offering home visits, pumps and specialty equipment, and prenatal classes. She was also a certified Lamaze instructor from 1997-2012.
Work Focus: It was during her first role as a staff nurse at Richland that she found her calling to become a lactation consultant. She wanted to be a good nurse and truly help her patients, and breastfeeding support wasn’t taught in nursing school, or even much during employee orientation. Information was scarce and inaccurate, and very centered on personal experience (which she didn’t have at that point). Her patients taught her why this was important to them. As a result, Denise always says she is “in it for the mothers. I was also that new mama, crying quietly in the dark because breastfeeding hurt and I dreaded it. I just kept wishing for someone I could call to make it better. I want to be that someone for others”.
Personal: Karen and her husband Pat were both raised in Southern California, and have known each other since middle school (they started dating after graduation). His job brought her to South Carolina, and they have been here long enough to call it home. She and her husband live on the lake and enjoy the water with their four children, and eight grandchildren.
Education: Karen is registered nurse with a Baccalaureate degree from the University of South Carolina.
Work History: Karen was hired by Palmetto Pediatrics to teach a Newborn and Breastfeeding Class, and work as a Pediatric nurse. She later took a part time position at Richland Memorial to start the Lactation program, then expanded her role to include Women’s Health and the after-hours Pediatric Phone Line. She maintained her connection to Palmetto Pediatrics throughout that time and eventually returned to become the first pediatric office IBCLC in the Midlands, possibly even the state.
Work Focus: Karen’s personal mothering experience led her to ultimately become an IBCLC. She says "Breastfeeding just seemed natural to me, but once I had premature twins, and encountered some feeding challenges, I realized that there was a real need for education and support for breastfeeding mothers. It gives me a lot of joy to help young families as they begin their journey in breastfeeding and parenting. It is personally rewarding and is the reason I love my job.”
Personal: Kristine was born in Niagara Falls, NY and raised in southwestern NY. She left the southern tier for college and military life, upon graduation she was commissioned in the United States Air Force. Kristine is very active within her church and her faith is the most important thing in her life. She currently teaches a ladies bible study group as well as a ladies Sunday school class. She is married to a farmer and enjoys outdoor activities including hiking, camping and biking. She has an appreciation and love for good food and identifies herself as a "foodie."
Education: She graduated from West Virginia University with her BSN, She also acquired her MSN in 2013 from Western Governors University.
Work History: Kristine’s career began with the United States Air Force, working active duty as a registered nurse for 5 years. Her professional background varies from the emergency room to obstetrics, including 24-hour telephone triage. In 2001, she moved to South Carolina and joined DHEC/WIC, specializing in clinic and home visits for postpartum and newborn care. She has also served as adjunct faculty for Central Carolina Technical College and Francis Marion University. Kristine has always had a love for supporting breastfeeding mothers throughout her career.
Work Focus: After years of work in community hospitals and OB offices focusing on breastfeeding support, Kristine knew the path she wanted to take. During this time, she went from breastfeeding helper, to clinical lactation counselor, and eventually became an IBCLC. She states, “This is my dream job, helping baby’s breastfeed and mothers to have the confidence to do it!”
Personal: Meredith has always called Columbia home. Married with three children, Meredith spends her evenings attending her children’s various extracurricular activities. In her free hours, she enjoys time spent on her screened porch enjoying a strong cup of coffee and a good book. Her other interests include travel, yoga and meditation.
Education: Meredith graduated from Lander University with a degree in Special Education, but also has a nursing degree from Charleston Southern University.
Work History: After a brief time working as a Special Education teacher, Meredith found her calling in healthcare, and has worked as a staff nurse at a community hospital ever since. Her focus has always been mother-baby care, and she is one of those rare people who actually likes working nights. She has also served as a childbirth and breastfeeding community educator.
Work Focus: As a bedside nurse, Meredith is in a unique position to assist new mothers as they practice breastfeeding. Often asked for help with feedings, Meredith identified a need for increased personal education to better serve the needs of her patients. She found herself seeking out her own learning opportunities to be a better support for breastfeeding mothers. “I have never met a mom who didn’t want to do what was best for her baby. If I can help her do that, regardless of her decisions, that is what I want to do.”