About Ava Health
Much of my motivation and passion for patient care and advocacy stems from the loss of my sister Sherri from breast cancer when she was just 33 years old. This experience has also strengthened my beliefs in patient education and shared decision making between the patient and provider. Although my heart aches badly for her, I realize she lives on in my heart, hands and voice as I care for my patients.
Michelle Weaver Knowles is a Family Nurse Practitioner and the owner of Ava Health in Missoula, Montana. In addition to her Master’s in Nursing from Gonzaga University, she is a Certified Breast Health Navigator through Educare and the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators, as well as a Certified Breast Care Nurse from the Oncology Nursing Society. She is also certified in Inpatient Obstetrics. In 2012, Michelle was named the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators/Health Monitor’s Nurse Navigator of the Year.
Her philosophy of care revolves around meeting patients where they are and promoting their own health and wellness. She feels patient education and understanding is paramount in helping them make informed decisions and choices to maintain their best health. Michelle brings her years as a nurse navigator to her primary care practice of caring for women and men in helping them find the resources they need. She is proud of her networking skills and connections with colleagues locally and around the country. She has been described as a “bulldog” for her patients as she knows what needs to be done, how to make it happen, and is not afraid to speak up on behalf of her patients.
Michelle is a self-proclaimed “genetics nerd.” She first became interested in how genetics connects to health and wellbeing with her own diagnosis of BRCA positive breast cancer at age thirty-eight. Her diagnosis occurred four years after her sister died of breast cancer. Finding out her family had a BRCA mutation instilled in her a path to understanding disease and genetics. Because of her experience as a patient and family member, she is determined and motivated to educate patients and their families in understanding their diagnosis and resources. Her work as a Breast Health Navigator is a rewarding passion and she has been recognized by colleagues, coworkers, and patients as a compassionate resource with expertise in breast health as well as hereditary cancer risk assessment. She also educates providers about national guidelines for standards of care and advocates on behalf of patients. She inspires her patients to be better advocates for their own health care needs and decisions by teaching them a clear understanding of the terminology and tools used by healthcare providers.
Ava Health’s Approach
Listen & Hear
Michelle’s philosophy of care revolves around meeting patients where they are and promoting their own health and wellness.
She has been described as a “bulldog” for her patients as she knows what needs to be done, how to make it happen, and is not afraid to speak up on behalf of her patients.
She feels patient education and understanding is paramount in helping them make informed decisions and choices to maintain their best health.
Michelle always wanted to become a nurse practitioner and realized after some “post traumatic growth” that obtaining her nurse practitioner would allow her to be a bigger voice and a more well-rounded practitioner for her patients and community.
Michelle is an active member in her community, volunteering for many organizations over the years. She practices what she preaches to her patients, enjoying a healthy and active lifestyle. Her favorite outdoor activities include Run/Walk/Run and Dragon Boat racing. She is an award-winning fiber artist and has used these talents to help raise dollars for the organizations she believes in. She enjoys public speaking and participating in various professional organizations.
All Insurance Programs Accepted
BCBSMT Traditional, PPO, FEP, BlueCard and Blue Preferred PPO Networks
First Choice Health Network (multiple insurance companies)
MT Health Coop Access Care
Michelle has an innate sense of her patients needs. My breast cancer journey would not have been as successful without her. Her knowledge and support were amazing!”