Dr. Rhene Merkouris
CLINICAL EXPERTISE :General women’s health
Uterine reconstructive pelvic surgery
Robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery
EDUCATION :B.S., University of California Davis
M.D., University of California San Francisco
RESIDENCIES :University of Arkansas for Medical Science
BOARD CERTIFICATIONS :Obstetrics Gynecology
AWARDS AND HONORS :Graduated medical school with honors Regular lectures and TV/radio Q&A in Portland and Anchorage
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS :American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Alaska State Medical Association
Society of Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgeons
Dr. Rhene Merkouris, M.D.
I have practiced obstetrics and gynecology for more than 30 years. There are babies I delivered who are now grown women, my patients, and are now having their own babies. And that is why I chose OB-GYN, because it is one of the only fields of medicine that allows me to be on someone’s entire journey with them. To have shared these women’s important life events is a privilege, and it keeps me inspired.
Gynecology is essential healthcare, and I am drawn to minimally invasive gynecological surgery because it has changed the way we care for women. The new, technologically advanced procedures we have now greatly decrease the patient’s recovery time, cost less and have fewer complications and better results for the patient.
Robotic-assisted surgery, in particular, has revolutionized care and made many minimally invasive surgeries a possibility for my patients. One of the most important aspects of good healthcare is information. I develop long-term relationships with my patients, so they feel comfortable being open and honest with me, and I take pride in educating and informing them about all the tools they need to make decisions and take control over their care. When you have relationships like that, you become more than just a doctor to someone. I practiced in California before Alaska, and I actually have patients who fly up to see me for routine exams.
I grew up on my grandfather’s cattle-and-sheep ranch in Northern California, and from the time I was a young girl, I helped birth the lambs. I’d wake up every couple hours and go outside and check the pregnant sheep, because there’s actually a fairly high number of risks. More than one fetus might enter the birth canal at the same time, or a fetus might be in breach, coming out feet first. So, I had to be there to make sure the fetus was okay and would help birth all the lambs, even reach in and pull them out when they needed help. So, you could say I’ve been doing obstetrics since I was eight or nine years old. I have always loved the miracle of bringing new life into this world.
I went to college to be a veterinarian, but I’ve always cared about people. I was a camp counselor every year growing up, and I was a peer counselor for sexuality in college. So, in my senior year, I switched gears and applied to medical school.
When I went to medical school, I didn’t even know what kind of doctors there were. I studied pediatrics, and I enjoyed working with kids. I did internal medicine, and I enjoyed the puzzle of diagnosis and finding the right treatment. But then I did obstetrics. And I loved it.
“Being able to deliver a baby felt like a gift. And, I’ve been thankful for the chance to do this job ever since.”
WHY SHOULD A PATIENT CHOOSE DENALI OB-GYN?
I’ve been the chief of staff at a hospital, I’ve been chief of OB-GYN departments, I’ve been president of the Alaska State Medical Association, I am currently the American Medical Association delegate from Alaska. But throughout all of those positions, I have never found a group of doctors who care more about people than our team at Denali OB-GYN.
I’ve always been concerned about the human element and fairness. I feel strongly that you can’t just sit back and not be part of the solution. The doctors at Denali OB-GYN are some of the few people I’ve met who do the extra work to keep medicine safe and fair.
Just for one example, when COVID broke, several doctors made sure we were up-to-speed on all information as it came out and we manned a phone 24 hours a day for doctors and nurses to call in so we could help everybody around the state in every community have the right information to provide people with vaccines and care. We did that for a year and a half until everybody knew what they were doing. If that’s not public health, I don’t know what is.
We do these things to help ensure good care for the homeless, for people who have disparity of healthcare, for any gender or sexual preference. For everyone in Alaska. At Denali OB-GYN, we say we have values, then we live those values.