Fort Bragg, CA – Mendocino Coast Clinics (MCC) is pleased to announce the arrival of physician assistant Stefanie Forrester, a medical provider with more than 20 years of experience who relocated from Sand Point, Alaska, a rural community even smaller than Fort Bragg.
Forrester chose MCC for personal and professional reasons: she was looking for a rural coastal community and she wanted to find a health center where she could provide patients with excellent and comprehensive care. MCC fit the bill on both accounts.
She said, “I was very impressed with the structure and the staff at Mendocino Coast Clinics and continue to be very happy with the organization’s professionalism. I have seen that working here allows me to work to the top of my license, and I look forward to being in an environment with multiple providers so that we may share in our knowledge and learn from each other.”
She describes her approach to medicine as collaborative with the goal of developing strong relationships with her patients. For her, she says, this starts with listening. “Often, patients will tell you what is wrong with them if you listen and give them the time to talk, and then we, as a provider and patient team, can work together to find the most appropriate treatment plan. Working together improves patient compliance and satisfaction.”
Forrester was always drawn to medicine. “Growing up, I wanted to be an emergency room physician. I worked as an emergency room technician during college and for a few years after graduating while I worked on my pre-requisites for medical school. Ultimately, I decided to pursue PA school so that I could have a good work/life balance. That’s when I became very interested in family medicine and internal medicine.” She said she enjoys spending time getting to know patients and their families and she likes the challenge of having to be proficient in all types of medicine to best care for her patients and/or get them to the appropriate specialist.
Forrester’s reasons for choosing a small coastal community are deeply personal. She said, “I have been living and working in rural Alaska and have become accustomed to seeing and hearing the ocean every day. I find it very calming for me. I lost my father at an early age to cancer and we scattered his ashes in the ocean beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Whenever I am near the ocean, I feel his presence and take comfort in knowing that he is still with me in another form. Fort Bragg is a beautiful little ocean town that will allow me to breathe in the ocean smells every day.”
The fact that Fort Bragg was a small rural fishing town was an added bonus, since Forrester had such a positive experience in Alaska in a similar environment. Of small towns in general, she said, “I enjoy living in a small community. I feel it helps me get to know my patients better. It’s nice to be in a place that’s small enough to run into patients or co-workers in the stores or on the walking trails on the weekends.” She is also looking forward to exploring the local art and music culture, as her significant other is both an artist and musician. “I feel that we will be happy to put roots down in this community,” she said.
When Forrester is not working, she spends plenty of time with her four-year-old German Shepherd and her Siberian Husky puppy. She also loves to dance and plans to take an adult tap or ballet class when time allows. Finally, she says she adores horses and would welcome the opportunity to help out at a horse ranch, cleaning stalls in exchange for riding. “It’s great exercise and great for the soul. I hope to find a horse ranch to spend weekends on once I’m further established here in Fort Bragg,” she said.
MCC Executive Director Lucresha Renteria said she is already impressed with Forrester’s attention to patients and her clear desire to provide top-quality care.