The Women’s Center Celebrates 25 Years: Dr. Cotter’s Voice

by Pamela Rittenhouse October 28, 2015

For 25 years, The Women’s Center of North Florida Regional has focused on delivering the kind of care the women of North Central Florida deserve, which is, of course, the very best care possible! During this anniversary year, we want to celebrate by sharing memories from patients, providers and physicians.

The Women’s Center that Dr. Michael Cotter is so proud to be a part of can be seen through the window over the desk at his OBGYN practice.

The Women’s Center that Dr. Michael Cotter is so proud to be a part of can be seen through the window over the desk at his OBGYN practice.

His Father’s Footsteps

This week’s voice from The Women’s Center comes from Dr. Michael Cotter. Dr. Cotter is an OBGYN who opened his practice on the North Florida Regional campus and began delivering babies at The Women’s Center back in 1994. Dr. Cotter graduated from Emery University, attended Medical School at the University of Miami and did his residency at the University of Florida. There was never a question about where he would open his practice. He’s a native of Gainesville and is the son of a very well-known OBGYN, Dr. Julian Cotter.

“My dad was the world’s nicest guy,” Dr. Michael Cotter says. “He was a great doctor, a great example to follow, and he was always very supportive of me.”

For Dr. Cotter, There’s Family at Home and Family at Work!

Dr. Cotter’s practice, Gainesville OBGYN, is not the only thing that has been growing over the years. So has his family and the wife and children that are his pride and joy.

Dr. Cotter says, like his father, he loves the opportunity to care for women for a long period of time as their lives change and healthcare needs change, too.

“I have patients I’ve been seeing for more than 20 years. The first babies I delivered were twins, and they have turned 21. It means a lot to me to continue to see these patients and know them and help them.”

The level of care available at The Women’s Center is something Dr. Cotter is proud of, and he gives credit to nurses. “The biggest thing that makes The Women’s Center so special is the nursing care. They’re really committed and do an excellent job in working with me and all of the physicians.”

Dr. Michael Cotter says physicians are only one part of excellence in delivering women’s healthcare services. Nurses and midwives who share the philosophy of care are critical, and he points to Certified Nurse Midwife Ronnie Jo Stringer as a perfect example.

Never Sit Still. Grow.

Dr. Cotter also points to the addition of the Maternal Fetal Medicine service line, Neonatal Intensive Care, the growth of Gynecologic Oncology, the presence of breast surgery specialists and Gainesville’s dominant robotic surgery program as examples of advanced care for women delivered at a very high level.

“I’m also pleased with the progression of our care in a holistic fashion where we think about the entirety of women’s healthcare needs, their lifestyle goals and their family members. Our philosophy is to treat the woman instead of her diagnosed healthcare condition.”

Preventing prematurity is a passion for Dr. Cotter, and it’s something he thinks about a lot. “Preventing premature birth is truly the #1 thing we can do for babies. We’re making a lot of headway. Use of progesterone for women who have had a previous spontaneous pre-term delivery at 16 to 20 weeks reduces delivery prior to 30 weeks by 50 percent. This has made an enormous difference, and we want to keep up our focus on preventing prematurity.”

Dr. Cotter’s practice has grown from one physician (him!) to four plus four certified nurse midwives and several other support staff. Growth, Dr. Cotter says, is a good thing!

Other priorities for Dr. Cotter include low birthweight babies and decreasing the rate of cesarean sections. In addition to that, he’s moving fast to manage the growth of his practice. For 16 years, he was in practice pretty much on his own. In the past 5 years, three physicians and four midwives have joined the group.

“We’re growing, but in our practice and the entire Women’s Center, we want to make sure women who come to us for care know they will receive advanced quality care in a setting that is relaxed, comfortable and welcoming. That’s what it’s all about.”

We have so much to celebrate in this 25th Anniversary Year, and we thank Dr. Michael Cotter for his work at The Women’s Center and for sharing his thoughts. There’s more to come. No matter how many years go by, The Women’s Center will be here doing all we can to raise the bar for women for a very simple reason. Health is Beautiful.

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