Creating a new standard of care

Dr. Diana Bitner elevates women’s health with new practice.
Dr. Diana Bitner, second from left, has been an OB-GYN for over 20 years and developed True Women's Health to bring a blend of holistic and Western medicine to West Michigan. Photo by Quinn Kirby

True Women’s Health is a midlife, menopause and sexual health wellness clinic that opened its doors to the Grand Rapids public on June 15, 2020, under the leadership of Dr. Diana Bitner, M.D., OB-GYN. True’s personalized approach to health care addresses each woman’s individual needs, offering support and educating women by providing a total wellness experience while focusing on prevention.

Bitner found her passion for women’s health care in the delivery room during med school. She began practicing women’s health care and built her career around helping women. During that time, Bitner saw the need to provide women all-around care and support that is typically not offered in an insurance-driven market, and she felt that women deserved better care.

“I want to do medicine in the way I think it should be done,” Bitner said. “I got the clear picture that women need the time where you can spend an hour with a patient and do a deep dive into what brought them in, and in the regular system, it’s hard to spend that amount of time.

“When I was in a regular OB-GYN practice, there were a lot of questions I wasn’t trained to answer such as, ‘Why do I have hot flashes? Why am I gaining weight? Why does sex hurt?’ So, I went to my first women’s health meeting (at the North American Menopause Society) so I could understand those things. Then I developed a process of care differently than the insurance-driven market today and decided that I wanted to do health care differently.”

Dr. Bitner’s book, “I Want to Age Like That! Healthy Aging Through Midlife and Menopause,” stands alongside other reference books in her personal office at True Women’s Health. Photo by Quinn Kirby

Since opening nearly a year ago, True Women’s Health continues to grow in clientele — despite a pandemic.

“Opening during a pandemic was challenging. Our construction was continuously delayed; however, one of the things I wanted to do was to create an app that could service women and connects them to their doctors virtually, which was what saved us in the last year.

“As busy women, we don’t have time to wait, and we need quick access to test results. Telehealth was developed in three months and allowed us to consult from home, and when we opened fully our patients appreciated our care virtually and we were able to build our clientele from there.”

Bitner also credits the team at True for the clinic’s growth.

“I have hired a great team who get our ‘why’ and the importance of engaging in caring for our patients that fits True. I want everyone to know that whoever they see at True, they will get the best care,” she said.

Long-term, Bitner said she hopes to continue to provide groundbreaking care and create a new standard for women’s wellness.

“We specialize in midlife, menopause and the hormonal changes that happen, but we are mainly interested in women living their true self and whatever that means for her. We want to help women live their best life by offering wraparound care to fit any life changes women may go through. True has a therapist, nutrition coach and weight management (personnel) on staff to meet your needs.”

True Women’s Health is at 2144 East Paris Ave. SE and offers a pay-as-you-go option as well as three membership options. Members pay a monthly membership fee and clinical services are reimbursed by most health insurance plans. True also offers one-time visits for women 25 and younger, 65 and older, as well as a one-time visit for cancer survivors.

Getting to know Dr. Diana Bitner

Dr. Diana Bitner Photo by Quinn Kirby

Grand Rapids Magazine: What are some hobbies you have outside of work?
Dr. Diana Bitner: I love to exercise, spin, bike, walk, ski, cook, write and read. I was born and raised in Grand Haven and love Lake Michigan.

GRM: What was your favorite subject in school?
DB: English. I love to read and write.

GRM: Can you tell us about your family?
DB: I have three children. Megan is 26, Pixie is 23, and I have a 19-year-old son, Owen. I recently moved from Grand Haven to Grand Rapids to be closer to the clinic, which was a big change for us.

GRM: What is something most people don’t know about you?
DB: I speak Portuguese and for a year I was a Rotary exchange student. I am in the Rotary Club and I am passionate about how we can give back. Our Rotary mantra is “service before self.”

GRM: What is the most courageous thing you have done?
DB: Recently, leaving my hospital system and job of 25 years took a lot of courage and it was pretty scary to leave what felt like was a secure position with a large employer to go out on my own and to take out a very big loan to start a business without a safety net. It meant a lot for others to believe and trust in the concept. I have written a book, workbook (and sexual health conversation tool) sex deck, and when others tell me how much I have helped them it gives me comfort in my decision.

This story can be found in the May 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox each month, subscribe here

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