Meet the Doctor Who is Making Women’s Health More Accessible

*Diegmann & Henderson OBGYN is a Portico partner

As one of the first OB/GYNs serving the Eastern Shore, Dr. Fred Diegmann has been a pioneer of women’s health in Baldwin County since 1974. After delivering his fourth generation of babies, he began mentoring younger physicians and welcomed Dr. Bret Henderson in 2013. Shortly after, Dr. Diegmann noticed an increasing demand for women in Obstetrics and Gynecology, so he and Dr. Henderson began the search for a female to join their practice. They were searching for “another physician with long-term dedication to the women of our community.”  That’s when they found Dr. Megan Missanelli, who lived in Fairhope while she attended medical school and residency training. She was welcomed into their practice in August of 2019.

Originally from the Philadelphia area, Dr. Missanelli spent time some of her childhood in Southern California, eventually landing in Eufaula, Alabama. She traveled back to the West Coast for college where she completed her B.S. in Human Biology at UCSD in iconic La Jolla, California. 

, Meet the Doctor Who is Making Women’s Health More Accessible

Inspired by one of her undergraduate professors, she pursued a graduate degree in Public Health. Brought back to the south by family and new relationships, Dr. Missanelli attended UAB, where she completed her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy. She initially intended to work in global health, but when she began dating her now-husband who is from the Eastern Shore, she visited Fairhope often and fell in love with the area. Furthermore, her time at UAB shined a light on the health disparities and access issues in the Southeast, especially for women’s health. She then decided to pursue a medical degree and residency in OB/GYN, completing both at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama.

Dr. Missanelli is applying her broad geographical and cultural experience to her practice in Fairhope. Her passion for women’s healthcare steams from medical mission trips to Latin America during her youth, and is furthered by her work in Public Health at UAB. The stark conditions she witnessed were eerily similar to many rural counties in Alabama. Poor health outcomes and health disparities are of particular interest to her. Using her knowledge of health policy and clinical care, she hopes to close the health care gap for women in Baldwin county.

Her time in San Diego also sparked an interest in functional and holistic medicine. Focusing on health and wellness, she is an advocate for preventive medicine and combating the obesity epidemic through health education. She incorporates diet, exercise, and stress reduction counseling into annual wellness exams. 

Other areas of interest are cervical cancer screening and prevention through widespread HPV vaccination, family planning, pregnancy prevention, and adolescent sexual health.

It’s no secret that women’s health in Alabama is facing a crisis. Dr. Missanelli and her partners firmly believe in creating a compassionate environment, free of judgement. “OB/GYNs are the entry point for most women into healthcare. It is our duty to create a safe space for all women and make care universally accessible.”

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