Dr. Benita Stephens kicks off ‘Walk with a Doc’
by Bradley Hartsell
Wednesday kicked off Walk with a Doc, a series of walks with doctors presented by Piedmont Newnan.
Dr. Benita Stephens opened with a walk around the Medical Plaza at Piedmont Newnan. Dr. Stephens is the president of Ciao Bella Medical Center and Spa in Newnan, a practice she founded last year after discovering the world of private practice lackluster. Stephens’ driven personality shows up in her, and it’s no surprise she welcomes the demands of running her own practice.
“It’s very stressful but it’s worth it,” she said. “Medicine has had its ups and down, like so many other people have experienced in all fields.” But after surveying all her options, she decided she needed to “take it into my own hands.”
Stephens was a basketball and track standout at LaGrange High School, naturally leading to her interest in physical therapy at the University of Georgia. Despite her intentions, she found she didn’t like the rehabilitation side of medicine so she took the plunge of more rigorous schooling to become a physician.
In 2008, Stephens finished her residency and transitioned into private practice as an OBGYN, first in Decatur and then Newnan because she wanted to be closer to home. Stephens began sensing her goal was ultimately to combine her passion for fitness and helping people lose weight with her experiences as an OBGYN.
“It’s very easy for OBGYN patients to need weight loss because of menopause and pregnancy, so they’re tied together very nicely,” said Stephens. “I realized that talking about weight loss after a regular appointment wasn’t a five-minute conversation.”
With Ciao Bella functioning as a full-on obstetrics, gynecology and medical weight loss center, Stephens is proving to be a versatile powerhouse in the medical community. In 2012, she received the Business Superstar Award and was featured on the cover of People You Need to Know magazine.
“It was nice to be recognized. I was hustling to get everything done for the practice, so I was pretty proud of that award.”
Her specialities lent well to Piedmont’s conception of Walk with a Doc. “Every day, I’m talking to patients about exercising and managing weight, so Walk with a Doc was natural,” she said.
With one in three adults in Coweta obese and one in four physically inactive, the Live Better Coweta community coalition was formed in response to the community health needs assessment taken last year by Piedmont Healthcare.
“This program was designed to help people in Coweta County take charge of their health,” said Holly Lang, deputy director of the Georgia Center for Healthier Communities. “We know it is important to stay active and see a primary care physician regularly but often times, people find it difficult to keep up. Walk with a Doc addresses both issues by giving people an opportunity to get the exercise they need and the ability to ask a doctor general health questions.”
Stephens will walk four more times — Oct 16, 23 and 30 — all at 6 p.m. starting in front of the Medical Plaza at Piedmont Newnan. Participants will have ample opportunity before, during and after the walk to talk with Stephens, as well as the other doctors, about their health. For Stephens, she sees this as another way of giving back to the community.
She’s active in the local chamber of commerce and at Trinity Fellowship Church and participates in local races. This a chance for her to directly affect the health of those looking to get active and healthy, the passion she always had and one she finally made a reality.
Next up in Walk with a Doc is Dr. Heather Turner on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. in front of the Piedmont Medical Plaza. For more information call Piedmont Newnan at 770-400-1000.