(Note: The Morning Sun ran its first 11 Women of Distinction profiles during the Christmas and New Year’s weeks, and caught up with Dr. Angela Shaw this week. Her story completes our 2016 Women of Distinction series.)
Dr. Angela Shaw estimates she has delivered approximately 1,200 Pittsburg-area babies in the 12 years she has lived and worked in the area.
This is in addition to caring for thousands of patients, performing countless other procedures professionally and also volunteering with the Pittsburg Community Theatre alongside her husband, Greg Shaw, raising two daughters and serving as a leader among area medical staff.
Shaw was recognized as a 2016 Woman of Distinction by the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, honoring her work as one of the most respected physicians in the four-state region.
Shaw said the foundation for her work as a medical professional was formed early on.
“My dad is a physician, so I grew up idolizing my dad,” she said. “I used to go make rounds with him when I was little, like my girls do now. I always knew I would end up in medicine, but I didn’t know how.”
She said originally she set out to be a pediatrician like her father, but found her forte as an OB/GYN, as well as other lifelong hobbies, along the way.
“I went to KU undergraduate and majored in human biology, but I also am into fine arts so I got a minor in music theater and did that in college as well,” she said.
After completing her undergrad degree, Shaw took some time away from school, secured a job and pursued fine arts, including participating in music theater in the Kansas City area.
“After a year and a half I decided to apply for medical school,” she said.
Participating in different rotations helped Shaw identify her talents and preferences within the field and led her to her work as an OB/GYN. Shaw said she discovered she enjoyed surgery, which was not a major part of pediatrics, but also desired the opportunity to have an ongoing relationship with her patients, which fit less with being a general surgeon.
However, the OB/GYN rotation offered the challenge of surgery along with long-term patient relationships.
“Obstetrics and gynecology is a surgical profession,” she said. “From adolescence on, I take care of young women and their mothers and their grandmothers and sometimes their great-grandmothers. I like that.”
Along the way, Shaw’s practice has grown, helping lead the way as new technology arrives in the area.
Shaw said she spent some time around surgical robots while doing a rotation at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, but at that time she said the robots were huge and in a different room.
“It’s really evolved into something that’s usable in a smaller town and a generalist practice,” Shaw said, adding all of the doctors in her practice are now trained to use Via Christi’s surgical robot, which was first used for a hysterectomy in the Pittsburg community.
“You can’t feel when doing robotic surgery, but I feel like I can feel, which I couldn’t do laparoscopically,” Shaw said. “It’s different than just using my eyes and just using my hands. The visualization is 3D and high-definition and it’s just so much better. You can’t even prepare it to what we used to have.”
Shaw said it is incredible to her that so much has changed in her short career, and she is excited for those in her office to be leaders in that regard.
Additionally, changes in staffing and rotation schedules are now allowing Shaw to spend more time with her family, much of which is spent accompanying her children to their involvement in dance through the Pittsburg Family YMCA and theater performances with the Pittsburg Community Theatre.
Shaw also has taken leadership roles among her peers, including serving as Chief of Staff at Via Christi Hospital, which she describes as being the physicians’ voice on the hospital board of trustees.
Above all, though, Shaw said she treasures the relationships she has built.
“I think my strength as a physician is being very inclusive,” Shaw said. “I give every patient the respect I think they deserve, regardless of their medical concern or social status. I remember people, and people feel comfortable coming up and talking to me because I’ll remember something about them.”
She said she is grateful that Via Christi is not-for-profit, which allows her to take patients regardless of insurance or ability to pay.
“I can see anybody and everybody who comes through the door,” Shaw said. “I don’t have to restrict my practice based on their financial situation. I’ll see them regardless.”