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Schliemann Center offers women safe place in healthcare journey

Baxter Regional Medical Center is the little hospital that can.

Despite its size, it rivals other larger hospitals like Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, and Saint Louis University Hospital in Saint Louis, Missouri.

And Baxter Regional does it while being located in one of the more remote areas of the South.

Thankfully, Baxter Regional isn’t alone in its fight to provide top-notch support to its patients. The hospital is joined by the various support houses that line the hospital’s emergency room parking lot.

Baxter Regional Medical Center. Photo by Lyndsy Simon / Ascend Photography.

With the help of these support houses, Baxter Regional can ensure that its patients are receiving the information and support they need to make it through their medical treatments and lifestyle changes.

These support houses include the Mruk Family Education Center on Aging (MFECOA), Peitz Cancer Support House, Schliemann Center for Women’s Health Education, and the Reppell Diabetes Learning Center.

Earlier this year, the Mountain Home Observer connected with the coordinators from each support house for a four-part series to learn about each house’s history, services, and focuses.

In part two of this series, the Observer sat down with Stefany Isham, the Schliemann Center for Women’s Health Education Coordinator, to learn more about how MFECOA started over a decade ago.

Schliemann Center for Women’s Health Education

The concept for the Schliemann Center for Women’s Health Education arose after Dr. Mary Wren, a former Chief of Obstetric Services at The Center for Women at Baxter Regional Medical Center, had a vision to create a women’s focused support house for the Twin Lakes Area.

The Cotter native also served on the Women’s Health Advisory Board, the Board of Admissions at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences,  and the Board of Directors at BRMC. Her vision would come to fruition in 2005 after Wren convinced 15 women in the area to help create the home.

“She was able to convince these 15 women to go to the hospital, and collectively they came up with a facility for women,” said Stefany Isham, coordinator for the Schliemann Center for Women’s Health Education.

Stefany Isham poses for a photo inside of the Schliemann Center for Women’s Health Education. Photo by Chris Fulton/MHO.

As the woman’s support house grew, Wren convinced more women, including her close friend Josée Schliemann, in the local community to invest in her idea. Schliemann, who received a large stock buyout when InBev purchased Anheuser-Busch, would endow the house in 2008, allowing it to make needed improvements and establish its popular garden. Schliemann would also join Wren on the board of directors.

“Josée Schliemann was friends with Dr. Wren, and she jumped on board,” Isham said. “In 2008, she endowed the house. She’s active in the house. She gets our newsletter, and we have weekly calls to each other. She’s fantastic.”

Wren passed away in 2015 after a long battle with cancer. Only two women, Amanda Thornton and Corinne Hiser, from the original 15-member advisor board, are still serving the Schliemann Center.

“I became Dr. Wren’s patient many years ago and was immediately touched by her warmth and her kindness,” said Schliemann in an interview on Wren’s passing with Marvelous! Magazine. “My husband had Alzheimer’s, had suffered a paralyzing stroke, and was a resident at Good Samaritan. Mary always inquired about his condition and, most of all, was concerned about my well-being. She suggested I read, ‘The Notebook,’ and it did help me greatly. One day Mary told me about her passion and asked me to join the board of what became the Schliemann ​Center for Women’s Health Education. This has changed my life, and I will always be thankful to Dr. Wren. She truly is my hero!”

Mountain Home’s Women’s Only Club

Today, the Schliemann Center serves as a safe refuge for women as they walk through the various stages of healthcare throughout their life.

The center is overseen by Stefany Isham, the former coordinator for the BRMC Breast Imaging Center and Mobile Mammography Unit. Before beginning her medical career, the South California native worked as a staff member for The Baxter Bulletin.

“Our mission is to provide superior health care and education for women at all stages of their lives,” Isham said. “So, we offer education on complete wellness, offering balance to everyday living for women. We try to inspire and motivate women to make positive changes in their life, and we support women in all phases.”

A photo of the Schliemann Center’s garden. Photo by the Schliemann Center for Women’s Health Education.

The Schliemann Center offers classes and support groups that focus on such topics as babysitting, breastfeeding, childbirth, menopause, nutrition, wellness, and heart health. Programs offered throughout the year include Girls’ Night Out, Teen Girls Go To College, Tell Your Mom, Working Women in the Know, and Schliemann Learning Sessions.

The center also offers classes on prenatal support and support groups for women who have lost their infants. Brazilian dance classes and the center’s book club are also provided to women throughout the month.

During her interview with the Mountain Home Observer, Isham also discussed a summertime class for children through the national Safe Sitter program.

“Every summer, we educate boys and girls on babysitting and life-saving techniques,” Isham said. “More importantly, we teach them to have autonomy for themselves. We teach them to negotiate pay and allow themselves to be in a safe environment.”

Other services provided by the Schliemann Center include:

  • Mommy & Me Support
  • Medela Breast Pump Rental
  • Fibromyalgia Support
  • Women, Newborn & Infant Support
  • Safe Sitter Classes
  • Scholarships
  • Women’s Heart Health Support

Monthly Classes and Groups

Prenatal classes:

Childbirth – 2nd Saturday of every month, 9 a.m.

Breastfeeding – 3rd Tuesday of every month, 5:30 p.m.

Support Groups

Infant Loss & Support – 1st Thursday of every month, 5:30 p.m.

Heart Healthy Women – 2nd Thursday of every month, 1 p.m.

Breastfeeding Support & Tips for Successful Nursing – every Tuesday, call for an appointment

Exercise

Heart Healthy Line Dancing – every Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Heart to Heart Brazilian Dance! – every Monday and Wednesday, 4 p.m.

Novel Women Book Club – 3rd Wednesday of the month, 1 p.m.

For more information on the Schliemann Center, please contact (870) 508-2345.

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