The inspiring reason this Lynnwood doctor went into medicine
Dr. Rachel Pontemayor had a lot of doctor visits as a child. Diagnosed with a congenital heart murmur, she was fascinated by how her pediatrician treated her while explaining complex medical terms to her mother with ease, making her mother comfortable and confident with her child’s treatment.
Growing up in Guam, a United States island territory, Dr. Pontemayor’s access to routine healthcare specialists was limited, her pediatric cardiologist not continuously on the island. Her small island community also inspired her to pursue medicine, especially her grandmother, who had emigrated from the Philippines and settled in Guam to seek a new beginning for her family.
“Because of her I value education and family,” said Pontemayor, explaining her grandmother was illiterate. “My experiences drew me into medicine, and I wanted to learn more about it. For me, it’s about giving back to my grandmother and family for all the sacrifices they made, while being a trusted member of the community and giving back.”
“Because of her I value education and family,” says Dr. Pontemayor, explaining her grandmother was illiterate. “My experiences drew me into medicine, and I wanted to learn more about the field. For me, it’s about giving back to my grandmother and family for all the sacrifices they made, while being a trusted member of the community and giving back.”
While attending the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, Washington, the medical student, once set on pediatric practice, found a passion for the variety of patients and care found in family medicine. Plus, the geriatric patients reminded her of her grandmother.
“I like forming a relationship with a family and being able to follow it generation after generation,” emphasized Pontemayor.
To Dr. Pontemayor, being a physician is being someone her patients and their families can trust—someone who will be there to help them navigate the healthcare system. “I’m there to bridge the gap in their knowledge and my knowledge, to help them better take care of themselves and empower themselves,” she says.
Taking a holistic approach to medicine, Dr. Pontemayor attends to the minds, bodies and spirits of her patients. This method is yet another tool in her toolkit, allowing her to personalize her care, as so many varying factors affect a person’s health.
“They’re a whole person with all these different types of needs, and I feel like, in this regard, I’m better able to be an advocate for them and treat them from a whole-person perspective,” explains Dr. Pontemayor. “Everyone has different circumstances that affect who they are.”
Seeking a position in which she could provide high-quality care to families regardless of their socioeconomic background, Dr. Pontemayor chose to join Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) in Lynnwood this September. Now, she’s getting to know and build relationships with not just her patients, but also their families.
Dr. Pontemayor is proud of PacMed’s reputation and the doctors’ team-based approach to serving patients, with specialists available when needed. “So far I’ve enjoyed it a lot; everyone’s been helpful, kind and team players,” she explains. “Everyone’s here to do what’s best for the patients.”
Dr. Pontemayor shares that serving the Lynnwood community is wonderful and that she enjoys how diverse and varied its population is.