Woodward, Okla. —
It was faith and family that brought Dr. Laci Waner to Woodward.
A family doctor with an emphasis in obstetrics and medical degree from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, Waner is one of the newest additions to the Woodward medical community.
But when it came to deciding where to go after completing her residency at the Texas A&M Family Medicine program in Bryan, Texas, earlier this year, Woodward wasn't Waner's only choice.
"When I was interviewing for a position, I had a lot of job offers," Waner said. "There were several places where I went to medical school that wanted me and the place where I did my residency wanted me to stay and others."
However, she said "a lot of those offers seemed too good to be true" and none of them seemed to be the right fit.
"Nothing really fit my whole family," she said, noting that finding a place where she, her husband Chris and their 2 children Kylen and Addyx could all call home was important to her.
"There were places that were perfect for me and my practice or places that were perfect for my kids or places that were perfect for Chris and his job," she said. "But there was nothing where I could come in and have the kind of practice that I wanted and still be in a community that offers opportunities for our kids and would also support my husband's job as a data analyst consulting for a company out of Canada so he can't be more than 3 hours away from a big city with a major airport."
Nothing fit until she found Woodward that is.
"When we came for the interview in Woodward, it was perfect," Waner said. "As we drove in the kids were just excited to be here. We stopped at the veteran's memorial and they looked at the tank then we went across the road to Rotary Park and they fed bread to the fish there."
Then it came time to interview with Dave Wallace, CEO of Woodward Regional Hospital, and Riley Fanning, physician practice manager for the hospital.
"I was nervous about how Dave and Riley would react to having kids along during the interview, but they welcomed us all as family and as they took us on a tour around the facility it just felt like home," Waner said.
Together with that and Woodward's "excellent schools" and seeing all the family-friendly facilities such as the water park, plus being within 3 hours from Oklahoma City for her husband's job, Waner knew Woodward was the place for her family.
However, as someone who grew up, studied and worked to become a doctor in Texas, Waner said she originally wanted to stay in her home state and had some doubts about considering a job in Oklahoma.
But that is where her faith came in.
Waner said that one Sunday this past spring after coming off a 24-hour on call shift, she hurriedly changed into a green sundress and got ready to go to church with her family. After the service, she said "a college-aged girl came to me crying. She told me she had gotten a message from God that she needed to look for a woman in green and tell her to look north."
Waner took it as a sign from God that she should seriously consider the job in Woodward.
Her decision to move here was then cemented after hearing about Woodward Regional Hospital's vision "to provide good quality care for the whole area, not just Woodward but also the surrounding rural areas."
"It matched what I envision myself doing in my practice," she said.
Waner explained that she truly believes that everyone, even those living in rural areas, deserve local access to quality healthcare. And that they also deserve "complete care, including preventative services and acute care," she said.
By becoming a member of the Woodward Regional Hospital physician network, Waner said she believes she is helping to provide that care.
She is also fulfilling her childhood dream, but instead of using toilet paper and sticks to fix broken teddy bear arms as she did when she was 4, she is using her training and skill to help bring babies into the world and keep entire families well.
"I really feel that it's a calling and a privilege to have people trust me and rely on me and allow me to come into their lives and care for them," she said.
Waner, who just joined the hospital staff this summer, is still accepting new patients. For more information, her office number is 256-2457 and her office is located at 1101 Hillcrest Dr.