Primary care for women & men
Primary care at Ava Health is a partnership between the patient and nurse practitioner to promote health and coordinate services/resources. Evidence-based care and treatment are provided with the help of guideline-based recommendations following the nurse practitioner model of assessing the whole patient. These include physical wellbeing, mental health, lifestyle, diet, exercise and sleep habits.
Patients are seen beginning at the age they need contraception to end of life. Services include but are not limited to STD testing, contraception needs, annual yearly wellness exams, ordering lab work and acute needs (ear infections, sore throat, urinary tract infections, etc).
Michelle practices what she preaches to her patients and can often be seen on the roads/trails around Missoula participating in Run Wild Missoula events, Dragon Boat racing and in various fitness classes. Her philosophy is to meet patients where they are and to help them aspire to maintain their optimal health and wellness.
Breast Cancer Navigation & Cancer Survivorship
Ava Health believes an educated patient is able to ask better questions and make informed decisions about care at the time of a breast cancer diagnosis. Education at the time of diagnosis is imperative in helping patients at such a terrifying time and most often alleviates a bit of the fear in hearing the words “you have cancer.” Knowledge is power and navigation by a certified breast navigator can provide evidence-based education and directs patients to specialty providers and resources.
Hereditary cancer risk assessment is also done at an initial breast cancer appointment as this information is important in determining how the cancer is treated. This coordination makes for timelier decisions regarding appropriate treatments.
Michelle has developed her breast navigation skills, services and education based on her own diagnosis at age 38 of a BRCA 1 positive hereditary, breast cancer. She is certified as a breast nurse navigator by Educare, Oncology Nursing Society as a Certified Breast Care Nurse and the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators as an Oncology Nurse Navigator Certified Generalist. In 2012 she was nominated by her patients and awarded the Nurse Navigator of the Year by the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators and Health Monitor.
Hereditary cancer screening, education and testing helps identify families that may be at risk of developing cancers at younger than expected ages, multiple cancers and rare more aggressive cancers. This information can be lifesaving to unaffected family members as their care will be managed differently before they get cancer. Cancer prevention! In those diagnosed with hereditary cancer, treatment recommendations for surgeries, medications and future health maintenance will be affected by this information.
Michelle is a relentless and outspoken advocate for her patients. She is also the most passionate caregiver I have ever come across. Her patients have cried with gratitude in my presence on multiple times as they reinforce that Michelle was the person who influenced their cancer care the most. Her resources, support, and networks reach far and wide. These are relationships that she has created and maintains.”