Dr. Nathalie Dauphin McKenzie is an award-winning, board-certified gynecologic oncologist with tremendous expertise and experience providing advanced surgical treatments including laparoscopic and robotic-assisted procedures for women with all types of gynecologic cancers. A cancer survivor herself, she provides compassionate, holistic, integrative and state-of-the art medical care.
While for some that might be enough, for Dr. McKenzie it’s just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to her duties as a gynecologic oncologist, she is also piloting a program on lifestyle education and changes for cancer patients and survivors. She serves as the current program director of Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship and has affiliate faculty appointments with the FSU and UCF Colleges of Medicine through which she regularly mentors students and residents. Dr. Mckenzie also sits on numerous boards for charity organizations, goes on surgical missions to impoverished areas internationally, and frequently lectures nationally and internationally.
Her work is her passion as she describes her journey into gynecologic oncology: “It was through my desire to specialize in a field where I felt like I would protect women — where I would be allowed to follow them throughout their journey, whatever that would be; I knew I wanted continuity of care. I also realized I very much liked the surgical specialties — both with my surgical aptitude and the way I approach life — I’m a fixer. Fairly early in my training, about 15 years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That sort of solidified my decision to continue down this path I was already on. To this day, I believe this first-hand experience helped me become a better doctor.”
United States Congress designates January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. Nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening, according to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition.
“I always tell patients, ‘Put your own oxygen mask on first’ because as women, we are nurturers. Whether it’s diving deeply into our careers, or taking care of pets, friends, children, significant others, aging parents — we always seem to be putting others’ needs above our own. So much so that we forget to stop and take time for ourselves,” Dr. McKenzie explains.
She encourages women to take the time to take care of themselves, from mindfulness, nutrition and physical activity to getting an annual check-up. “Too often I meet a woman with cervical cancer who tells me she hasn’t had a pap smear since her last child was born 15 years ago. These cervical cancers could have been caught perhaps when they were pre-cancers, where a tiny procedure fixes the diagnosis versus being diagnosed with an advanced stage cervical cancer that requires a combination of chemotherapy and radiation,” she adds.
But Dr. McKenzie likes to take her treatment beyond traditional methods. “I am so passionate about being able to bring more options, outside of chemotherapy and surgery, to my patients that I’ve undergone additional training — board certification in lifestyle medicine,” she says. She recently started a program for cancer patients that offers intensive lifestyle education and changes through an interactive program, where they learn about nutrition, sleep, physical activity, stress reduction, relationships and more. She hopes to transform this into sophisticated research on how lifestyle changes may augment survivor rates and decrease side effects among cancer patients.
She’s dedicated to expanding her knowledge and giving back. She volunteers her time and surgical expertise through mission trips to serve countries in need. She also dedicates her time to a pediatric cancer organization by sitting on their scientific review committee. “I have the opportunity to be selected to review grant trials for cancer research and comment on the scientific merits of these proposed research studies,” she explains.
“During my free time, I like to relax and spend quality time with my husband and two young children, ages 7 and 12. But my favorite thing to do when I have down time is travel and see the world,” she says.
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One call to AdventHealth for Women’s Health Navigator Doreen Forsythe, BSN, RN, can help you coordinate all your health care. AdventHealth for Women understands the intricate role women play in their family’s healthcare decisions and needs. Doreen is a specially trained registered nurse who is available to help women access AdventHealth’s extensive network of services across Central Florida. This coordination specialist not only provides expert, clinical assistance, but also helps manage your overall care and identifies ways to speed up the process of scheduling physician appointments and procedures. The health navigator acts as your personal advocate — creating a seamless healthcare experience that focuses on health, wellness, hospitality and convenience.
As a registered nurse, Doreen has been a valued member of the AdventHealth team since 2001. Graduating from Villanova University in Pennsylvania, she has more than 15 years of experience in multiple nursing disciplines including cardiology, neurology, surgery and nursing education. No matter what kind of women’s health services you need, Doreen can connect you with the right doctors and resources to ensure you receive the best treatment available. This complimentary service is available to all women.
Learn more at HerHealthNavigator.com.