Original Story by Lia Picard, Atlanta Magazine
Photo Credit: Atlanta Magazine
Posted: May 16, 2023

The first delivery Paula Greaves witnessed as a medical student was a pivotal moment. “It was love at first sight,” says Greaves. “Just knowing that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” After finishing her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Tennessee, she moved to Atlanta to work as a physician at Wellstar. Twenty-five years later, she’s Wellstar’s chief of women’s medicine, continuing her career-long advocacy of women’s health.

An immigrant from Panama who moved to the United States at 19 years old, Greaves was attracted to Atlanta and Wellstar because of the diversity of each. They reminded her of Panama, she says, a cosmopolitan country with people of diverse backgrounds, nationalities, and languages. “My practice just happens to care for a lot of patients that are of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures—a lot of women that speak Spanish,” Greaves says.

Greaves is particularly attuned to the rate of morbidity and mortality among Black and brown pregnant women—of which the United States ranks as the worst when compared to other industrialized nations. “While those other countries are improving their mortality and morbidity rates, for several reasons, the United States’ morbidity and mortality rates are worsening,” she says. The problem is compounded in Georgia, which ranks 49th in the country. “This is an ongoing battle,” she says. “We win several scrimmages, but ultimately the war is about seeing that needle moving toward great decreases in morbidity and mortality, not only for our state, but for our nation—every woman, every time.”

For Greaves, women’s health is more than her career, it’s her passion. “I’ve been practicing OB-GYN as a private physician for 25 years, and this I know: Women are the driving force in our society,” she says. “Number one.”