June 2018

June 2018: Meet the Doctors

Author: Special to CH2 | Photographer: Photography by Anne, M.Kat Photography

Soldrea Thompson, MD, FACOG
Beaufort Memorial Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists

What is your field of expertise?
Obstetrics and gynecology. In addition to delivering babies, I also have a special interest in treating menopause, urinary incontinence, abnormal uterine bleeding and endometrial ablation, as well as minimally invasive surgery.

Where did you study medicine?
I graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and completed my residency at Cleveland Clinic Foundation/MetroHealth Medical Center. I am board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and am a Fellow of the American College of Gynecology.

Tell us about the best day you’ve had in your career so far.
Every day is a joy. It’s like being invited to a birthday party—and who doesn’t love birthday parties? I feel blessed to have the opportunity to experience new life and be involved in a family’s new beginning. Playing a role in the early detection of diseases like cancer and helping patients cure their ailments also makes each day worthwhile.

At what point did you decide you wanted to be a physician and why? Why OB-GYN?
I have always had a passion for medicine and the cure of disease. I wanted to help others live their best lives each day. My family has suffered from multiple cancers, including breast cancer, and being involved with their care drove my desire to help treat and cure these diseases in others. As a woman, my goal is to educate other women about conditions, such as menopause, and how to treat their symptoms.

If you could have chosen another career, what would it have been?
I decided to become an OB/GYN at a very young age. There is no other career for me. It is a blessing to have a vocation I love every day.

If you had some “healthful” advice to give to our readers, what would it be?
I would advise others to make their health a priority. As women, we often find ourselves taking care of others and prioritizing their needs above our own. But part of living our best lives is taking care of our own bodies. It’s important to eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis, schedule a yearly appointment with your gynecologist and have your annual mammogram. Women should also have a bone density exam and colonoscopy after the age of 50.

7 Arley Way, Suite 101
Bluffton, SC 29910

989 Ribaut Road, Suite 210
Beaufort, SC 29901
(843) 522-7820

Jessica Lowther
Sungate Medical Spa

What is your field of expertise?
Aesthetic Medicine

Where did you study medicine?
I studied at the University of South Carolina and am a Gamecock through and through. I grew up in the Columbia, S.C. area and completed my undergraduate and graduate degrees at USC.

Tell us about the best day you’ve had in your career so far.
The best day I’ve had in the spa was the very first time I injected fillers. It was the best feeling when my patient saw her reflection for the first time! Any day I can empower someone and instill that confidence in them is the best day for me.

At what point did you decide you wanted to be a physician and why?
There wasn’t a key moment that directed my career path. I think I was just born with the desire to care for people. I worked as an RN in the NICU and decided to further my education and become a nurse practitioner. It was the perfect bridge for me, giving me more professional responsibility, while keeping me closely connected to my patients; it also gave me flexibility to spend more time with my daughters. The aesthetic field of medicine allows me to combine my medical knowledge with my artistic and creative side.

If you could have chosen another career, what would it have been?
Either an interior designer or a country music singer!

If you had some “healthful” advice to give our readers, what would it be?
Wear sunscreen! It’s key to overall skin health and anti-aging.

10 William Pope Drive
Bluffton, SC 29909
(843) 705-1515
Facebook: SunGate Medical Spa
Instagram: @sungatemedicalspa

Elizabeth Abell, DMD
Harbor Point Dentistry

What is your field of expertise?
My field of expertise is general dentistry. I view dentistry as a profession defined by the applications of science, the highest standards of professionalism, and the goal to promote oral healthcare and improve the lives of others.

Where did you study medicine?
I obtained my Doctorate of Dental Medicine from The Medical College of Georgia.

Tell us about the best day you’ve had in your career so far—the day you knew you had made the right choice.
The best day includes exceeding our patients’ expectations for quality care and comfort. Our patients become dear friends and we look forward to their visit with us. I am fulfilled each day when one compliments my wonderful team and enjoys their experience. Not only do I provide quality dentistry, it is my personal goal that every dental emergency is promptly seen and that your routine dental appointment is one that you no longer dread on your calendar. It is my pleasure serving our community and restoring one’s confidence in their smile.

At what point did you decide you want to be a dentist and why?
I enjoyed many forms of art such as painting, jewelry making, and sewing as a child. I would spend countless hours creating time-cherished pieces and acquired a deep happiness and satisfaction in producing these works with my hands. Realizing the emphasis I had placed on my manual dexterity, I believed that the career I chose should incorporate the use of my hands to a large degree. I now enjoy putting forth my talent with the combining power to heal and help others.

If you could have chosen another career, what would it have been and why?
A barista! I really enjoy stocking our office coffee station with delicious coffee flavors and other refreshing beverages for our welcomed guests. It pairs well with our music, periodicals, and friendly atmosphere.

If you had some “healthful” advice to give our readers, what would it be?
My best advice is to maintain routine dental hygiene visits in order to preserve your existing dentition and protect any investment. Your smile is perceived in many ways. It can be playful, sly, or even mischievous, but most of all your smile should be a natural and true reflection of you.

Elizabeth Abell, DMD
40 Okatie Center Blvd., South
Suite 302
Okatie, SC 29909
(843) 706-9662

Dr. Kristi Blessitt & Tavia Osterstock
Vitality Medical Spa

Dr. Kristi Blessitt is a board certified Ob-Gyn, offering an integrative approach to healthcare and wellness with a passion for improving people’s health through a holistic approach. After completing medical school, she was well aware that women’s health was her calling and continued her training at the University of Mississippi in obstetrics and gynecology. Her focus is now on individualized hormone restoration and the treatment of adrenal axis and thyroid hormone imbalances in order to help patients feel their best. She also offers personalized weight-loss consults, supplement consults, as well as B vitamin and lipotropic (MIC) injections to aid in boosting metabolism. For those looking to improve their self-image and turn back the hands of time, she performs aesthetic filler injections and botulism toxin injections alone or in conjunction with laser procedures. She will soon be offering PRP micro-needling and PRP injections.
Tavia Osterstock, a licensed esthetician, has partnered with Dr. Blessitt in opening Vitality Medical Spa to bring the Lowcounty top-grade medical skin care with an emphasis on customer service—something they believe the area has anxiously awaited.

For 14 years, Osterstock has provided her patients with quality skin care regimes, specializing in aesthetic laser treatments, chemical peels, micro-needling, facials, and most important, a trusted friendship. She takes treating her patients seriously and values the opportunity to focus on age management from the inside out. Her goal is to make each visit affordable and individually customized to ensure the needs of each patient are met. She is now seeing patients at the Just Be Centre located at 159 State Street, Suite 5, while their permanent location is being built in the heart of downtown Bluffton.

Both Blessitt and Osterstock look forward to serving you as the Lowcountry’s latest medical spa and hope to surpass all expectations. Their goal at Vitality Medical Spa is to treat the whole person and restore that person to the best they can be—to feel their best and live their most vital life!

Just Be Centre
159 State Street, Suite 5
Bluffton, SC
By Appointment Only
Dr. Kristi Blessitt- (843) 757-2270
Tavia Osterstock- (843) 422-0217

Dr. Thomas C. Beller
Allergy & Asthma Center

What is your field of expertise?
Allergy and Immunology

Where did you study medicine?
I went to medical school at University of Miami. I trained in internal medicine at University of Texas Southwestern, and in allergy and immunology at the famous Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard University.

Tell us about the best day you’ve had in your career so far—the day you knew you had made the right choice.
A man came to see me for chronic shortness of breath of unclear etiology. I treated him with a combination of medications and allergy shots. He came in a few months later. He had tears in his eyes when he told me that I had completely changed his life.

At what point did you decide you wanted to be a physician and why?
In the beginning, it was a matter of practicality. I failed as a stockbroker and needed a more stable career. I remember medical school being so interesting and stimulating that I fell in love with medicine over time.

If you could have chosen another career, what would it have been?
I could see myself as a patent attorney. I love inventions and dreaming up new ideas.

If you had some “healthful” advice to give to our readers, what would it be?
I think a large part of being healthy starts with your state of mind. Mental health and physical health are hard to separate. Happiness contributes to healthiness.

Allergy & Asthma Center
60 Main Street, Unit D
(843) 689-6442

Jeffrey C. Bauer, D.M.D.
Bauer Dental Associates

What is your field of expertise?
Cosmetic and family dentistry.

Where did you study medicine?
University of Pittsburgh.

Tell us about the best day you’ve had in your career so far.
The day I opened my office in the Promenade in Bluffton.

At what point did you decide you wanted to be a physician and why?
My dad was an orthodontist, and I always wanted to follow in his footsteps in dentistry.

If you could have chosen another career, what would it have been?
Something in the golf world—perhaps a teaching pro.

If you had some “healthful” advice to give to our readers, what would it be?
Keep up with teeth cleaning regularly, and don’t put off dental work. It always catches up to you. Be a proactive patient.

23 Promenade Street, Suite 101
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 757-2222

Dr James F. Mason
Adventure Pediatric Dentistry

What is your field of expertise?
The field of Pediatric Dentistry is from birth until 18 years of age usually. Our team has completed extensive training on lip and tongue tie procedures and have had many babies come to us straight from the hospital by mothers that cannot nurse effectively. Seeing a one-day- old baby is always such a sight, but we still adore our toddlers, tweens and everything between!

Where did you study medicine?
I attended the University of Virginia for an undergraduate degree in Physics and then turned down my pilot slot for the Air Force to go to the Medical College for Virginia School of Dentistry. After this I went on to an Advanced Education in General Dentistry with Surgery focus at Eglin Air Force Base in Destin, Florida, and then received my Pediatric Dentistry training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I was in the Air Force living all over the world for 12 years: England, Korea, Florida, Alabama and, I hate to admit to the Lowcountry…Ohio before coming here!

Tell us about the best day you’ve had in your career so far.
We had an amazing four year old girl come in to our office one day for a second opinion. She had been told that she had eight cavities and needed to be “put to sleep” asap to have them fixed and get silver crowns on all her back teeth. We evaluated her as a whole person, took new radiographs, spent time talking to her about why she has the cavities, what she can do about them, how to prevent them from getting any bigger and all of her options. We were able to treat two of them with small white fillings without sedation and were able to manage the other cavities with other less aggressive modalities unit they eventually fell out. The mom and the young girl were both ecstatic that there were other more conservative options! The mom actually cried in the office that it was not a huge deal after all!

At what point did you decide you wanted to be a physician and why?
I grew up 150-acre farm in Virginia and worked non-stop on that place. I will admit I didn’t know until college that I wanted to be a pediatric dentist. I used to rebuild old British sports cars with my father in high school, so I thought I would be an engineer. I used to really like the idea of flying, but the g-force didn’t agree with my body too well ;). It was not until college during a dual internship with a medical doctor and a pediatric dentist in the Air Force that I really fell in love with interacting and helping out pediatric dental patients.

If you could have chosen another career, what would it have been?
If I had to have chosen a different career, I think it would have been a home builder. Just like with dentistry, attention to detail is everything. I love being outside and earning my day with a good sweat every morning in the gym, but if I could work outside all day, I would love it. It is hard work for sure but, just as in many jobs, there is a lot of satisfaction.

If you had some “healthful” advice to give to our readers, what would it be?
Our office philosophy is that we are in the business of building relationships, and on the side we do some excellent dentistry. Adventure Pediatric Dentistry is about whole body health; there a lot more important things than just baby teeth. Yes, teeth are important, but there are many options to how to manage tooth decay. We are very conservative and like to figure out what the patient’s vice is, what the best option is to help them, and how can we win with every patient. Our goal is to provide a fun rewarding experience where the child will want to come back and see us next time and for years to come. Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy teeth.

Coming soon!
337 Buckwalter Place Blvd.
Bluffton, SC
(843) 815-6000 (Taking appointments now!)

Dr. Mary Dolan
Palmetto Pediatrics of the Lowcountry

Palmetto Pediatrics is proud to announce that Dr. Mary Dolan has joined our practice. Dolan was born and raised near Cleveland, Ohio. She is the oldest of three girls and grew up among a family of entrepreneurs. She attended college in Southern Ohio where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work, and later moved to Michigan to attend medical school at Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. It was during this time that she fell in love with pediatric medicine. “Practicing medicine is a privilege, but it is an even greater privilege and honor to be entrusted with the care of children,” she said. “Their energy and fun-loving spirits make each day better than the last!”

Prior to relocating to the Lowcountry, Dolan was living and working near Detroit, Michigan. She and her husband Chris now live in the Bluffton area. Dolan is an avid Cleveland sport’s fan. She is a certified scuba diver, and enjoys time spent outdoors and in the water. She also enjoys time spent with family and friends.

At Palmetto Pediatrics of the Lowcountry, our goal is to provide excellent medical care in a warm and caring environment for your children. Our board certified pediatricians have been caring for children of the Lowcountry for over 15 years, serving the community with two locations, in Okatie and on Hilton Head Island. We are committed to helping children reach their highest potential by promoting and maintaining physical and emotional well-being.

23 Main Street
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 706-3206

4 Okatie Center Blvd. S
Building 6
Bluffton, SC 29909
(843) 706-3206

Laura Hollinger M.D.
MUSC Children’s Health at Beaufort

What is your field of expertise?
Pediatric Surgery

Where did you study medicine?
As a Texas native, I earned my undergraduate degree at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, which is also my hometown. From there, I earned a doctorate in medicine from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston at McGovern Medical School. I also completed a two-year research fellowship at the Methodist Hospital Department of Surgery and Research Institute and a fellowship in pediatric surgery at the University of Texas.

Tell us about the best day you’ve had in your career so far—the day you knew you had made the right choice.
There is no one single day in Pediatric Surgery that surpasses all others, however all of the highlights carry the same theme. There is no greater satisfaction than helping a child (and their family heal), then seeing them go home to their parents and having the joy of seeing them return to the clinic for follow-up. When they return and are happy, healthy, and bouncing around your clinic, it’s the best reward we could possibly ask for. It is truly rewarding to receive photos and cards from previous patients as they reach their milestones; we cherish these memories.

At what point did you decide you want to be a physician and why?
My enthusiasm for building and repairing things started at a young age. I think my mother knew before I did that I would ultimately choose to become a surgeon. While in medical school, I was mentored by Dr. Barbara Bass, who is one of the female pioneers in general surgery and president-elect of the American College of Surgeons.

If you could have chosen another career, what would it have been and why?
When I was growing up, I actually wanted to be a meteorologist. I have always been fascinated by weather patterns and climate. So, if for some reason I couldn’t practice pediatric surgery, I might consider that again. I don’t believe that I could find any field in medicine that is as fun and satisfying as pediatric surgery!

If you had some “healthful advice” for our readers, what would it be?
The most helpful advice I could give would be to remember how fortunate we are each and every day, and to take care of our bodies as best we can. Healthy habits pay off!

1055 Ribaut Road, 20A
Beaufort, SC 29902
(843) 379-9933

Terri Hubbard, D.M.D.
Coastal Pediatric Dentistry

What is your field of expertise?
Pediatric dentist, specializing in treating infants, children and teens.

Where did you study medicine?
I obtained my doctorate of dental medicine (DMD) degree from the University of Louisville and went on to complete my residency in pediatric dentistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Tell us about the best day you’ve had in your career so far.
There have been so many amazing days in my practice that I cannot narrow it down to one. The joy each child brings to the practice makes every day the best day ever.

At what point did you decide you wanted to be a physician and why?
I was always interested in medicine since I was a little child. It was not until dental school that I realized my love for helping children. It is amazing to see a child transformed from a scared anxious child to a confident individual in the dental setting.

(843) 757-7336

Laura C. Knobel, MD
Laura C. Knobel, MD LLC

Dr. Laura C. Knobel is a board certified family physician, caring for patients of all ages—newborns to grandparents. She has a special interest in women’s health and adolescent medicine. She graduated with a BS in biology from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and received her MD degree from Boston University. She completed her family medicine residency in the Brown University Program in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Dr. Knobel runs a direct primary care practice, where the patient pays a low monthly fee of $50 or less for the services offered by the physician in her office. As they do not bill insurances or Medicare, there are no co-payments or deductibles required. Her in-office blood work is included, as are certain vaccines. She can spend more time with you, the patient, as she has eliminated the hassles of dealing with insurance companies. She can still order your medications, lab and radiology studies as well as connect you to the specialists you see when you need them.

Please call the office to come in for a free information session to discuss the practice in more depth, or visit the website for further information.

29 Plantation Park Dr., Suite 202
Bluffton SC 29910
(843) 836-2200

Dr. James Maginnis, DMD, MS
Maginnis Orthodontics

What is your field of expertise?
Orthodontics: A dental specialist in moving teeth with braces or Invisalign.

Where did you study dentistry?
I completed my dental training at MUSC and my orthodontic specialty at Saint Louis University.

Tell us about the best day you’ve had in your career so far.
On May 19, we gave away orthodontic treatment to two deserving kids. Other than that, every day when a patient’s braces come off and their smile shines!

At what point did you decide you wanted to be a orthodontist and why?
In college, I was exploring both medicine and dentistry, and after interning with my family dentist and researching my career options, it seemed like a perfect fit for me.

If you could have chosen another career, what would it have been?
A pilot. Since I was a young boy, I’ve always loved aircraft, both military and civilian.

If you had some “healthful” advice to give to our readers, what would it be?
Kids, please watch your soda and candy intake. They will ruin your teeth and be expensive to fix. Shield with water, healthy snacks and don’t forget to brush twice daily for at least two minutes! For our adult readers, we can straighten teeth at any age! As long as your teeth, gums and bones are healthy, we can use modern techniques and appliances, like Invisalign, to easily give you the smile you’ve always wanted. Parents, we recommend the first orthodontic evaluation at seven years old to help intercept potential problems and correct them easily, versus when your child is older. With bullying at school, a great smile is something that can be a big life-changer by boosting a child’s self-confidence.

1050 Fording Island Road, Unit F
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 681-5556

Dr. Andrea Grant Guess
The New River Dental Center, PC

What is your field of expertise?
I am a general dentist.

Where did you study dentistry?
I earned my Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Howard University in Washington, DC.

At what point did you decide you wanted to be a dentist, and why?
I told my first-grade teacher that I wanted to be a nurse. However, when I was in the third grade, I fell off my bike and chipped my front tooth. That is when my “routine” dental check-ups changed my viewpoint on the profession. My dentist, who was a woman, was able to re-create what God had given me. Through her, I was able to envision myself as a doctor who can change people’s self-esteem for the better.

If you could have chosen another career, what would it have been?
I LOVE being a dentist. Through continuing education courses, I am able to provide my patients with different treatment options. We are able to discuss dental devices which are used to treat intolerance to a CPAP, which is used to treat sleep apnea. I am able to replace missing teeth with implants and perform sinus lifts in areas where there is insufficient bone. Even the use of Botox in dentistry is making a profound difference for people who grind their teeth and have frequent headaches. There aren’t too many professions that allow you to interact with such a diverse population. Also, being a dentist allows me to contribute economically to my community by creating jobs. I also provide volunteer services, working within my church, doing health fairs, and working with the Hilton Head (SC) Chapter of The Links Incorporated, providing health screenings at local daycare centers and after-school programs.

If you had some “healthful” advice to give to our readers, what would it be?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Dentistry has come a long way as far as treatment options are concerned. However, regular radiographs, check-ups, cleanings and following the advice given to you by your dental professional can make your “routine” visits go smoothly. Ultimately, we always want to save teeth if at all possible. When diagnosed early, a one-surface filling is much better than a root canal or an extraction. Periodontal disease, when treated early, is easier to manage working together with the patient and helping them create a better home care routine so that they are able to keep their teeth a lot longer. In my office educating the patient and caregiver is of the utmost priority. We love taking the time to sit down and demonstrate proper techniques for brushing and flossing.

300 New River Parkway, Suite 1
Hardeeville, SC 29927
(843) 208-2888

Shelbi Carpenter
Pinnacle Plastic Surgery

What is your field of expertise?
I am an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) with extensive training and clinical experience in both medical and cosmetic dermatology. 

Where did you study medicine?
I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Henderson State University followed by my Master’s of Science in Nursing at The University of Central Arkansas, both in my home state. The Lowcountry is new to me and so far, I’m loving it!

Tell us about the best day you’ve had in your career so far.
One of the best days I’ve had in my career thus far was when a patient who attended one of my educational seminars on skin cancer later came to thank me in the office for saving his life. I’ve made it my career goal to reach out to my community and empower those around me to protect themselves.

At what point did you decide you wanted to be a nurse practitioner and why?
I knew I wanted to be a nurse when I witnessed my grandmother in the hospital with cancer. I saw the loving and skillful care they provided to her in one of her darkest times. Caring for others has always been in my nature. My patients remind me of this with their “thank you’s” and smiles.

If you could have chosen another career, what would it have been?
I would coach cross country and track, both sports that I enjoyed as an athlete and have volunteer coached in the past. I love helping others achieve their potential both on and off the course.

If you had some “healthful” advice to our readers, what would it be?
Every hour someone dies from melanoma. Wear SPF 30 or higher every day. Everyone needs at least an annual full body skin examination. Also, research shows if we feel good about the way we look on the outside, we tend to be healthier overall. I help people achieve this with non-surgical measures like Botox, fillers and lasers.

7 Mallett Way
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 815-6699

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