Finding Her Place in The Gorge

Meet Dr. Rachel Guild, Obstetrician and Gynecologist (OB/GYN), the newest member of the Columbia River Women’s Center

Dr. Rachel Guild knows a good thing when she sees it, and she saw it in her high school sweetheart, now husband, Dan Coughlin.

Born and raised in McHenry, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, Dr. Guild is the newest member of the Columbia River Women’s Center. An OB/GYN, she married her high school boyfriend five years ago, during her fourth year of medical school.

The two met through friends the summer before her junior year of high school. She remembers their first date clearly. He showed up to the movie theater wearing cargo shorts and a Hawaiian shirt.

“I thought, ‘Who is this kid?’” she said. “But he was charming. Over time, we fell in love with each other, with our mutual goofiness.”

The two have been together ever since. After attending different colleges for two years, he transferred to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where Dr. Guild completed her undergraduate training with a major in biology and minor in Spanish.

Dan, a software engineer, followed her to Chicago, where she received her medical degree and completed an internship in obstetrics and gynecology and then to Portland, where she completed her residency at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

“He’s been very flexible,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better partner or more support.”

Falling in Love with The Gorge

Just as Dr. Guild knew her husband was special when they first met, she knew the Columbia River Gorge was something extraordinary from the moment she saw it. She has family ties in Oregon and fell in love with the Gorge during childhood road trips to the coast to visit her grandparents.

“My favorite part of the trip was when we crossed into Oregon on I-84,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is the prettiest place in the world.’”

When Dr. Guild moved to Portland to complete her residency, she wanted to share the Gorge with her husband. It became their refuge from the city, filled with fun hikes, great restaurants and fantastic scenery.

“I didn’t expect to be living here, but when the opportunity arose, I was really excited about it,” she said. “The Dalles is a really welcoming place with a close community that reminds me of where I grew up. I feel very lucky to settle here.”

Patient-Centered Medicine at MCMC

Dr. Guild enjoys getting to know her patients. During her training in Chicago and Portland, there was not a lot of continuity which made it difficult to connect with patients. She is excited to develop long-term relationships with providers and patients at Columbia River Women’s Center.

“One of my favorite things about OB/GYN is the opportunity to care for women over the long-term, through many significant life events,” she said. “The privilege to participate in these moments with patients is what makes my job so rewarding. Just yesterday I got to deliver a patient who I had taken care of since her early pregnancy. It was a really special experience.”

Early in medical school, Dr. Guild planned to pursue a career in primary care as a family medicine physician with a focus in women’s health and obstetrics. She loved working with her hands and was drawn to surgery, which could help her achieve noticeable and lasting change for her patients.

This led her to choose the field of obstetrics and gynecology. Though she chose a more specialized field, her education and interests were based in preventative care and a global view of the whole patient. This has shaped Dr. Guild’s philosophy of patient-centered care, based in excellent communication and the development of a partnership with her patients.

In alignment with her desire to communicate with all her patients, Dr. Guild has learned Spanish and can communicate well with those who are Spanish-speaking only.

She is nearly fluent, although when an interpreter is needed, there is almost always a female staff member available to translate in person, which is a great asset to Columbia River Women’s Center.

Dr. Guild’s philosophy of patient-centered care and collaboration with her colleagues is a good fit at MCMC.

“Dr. Guild is a fantastic addition to the Columbia River Women’s Center, “said Dr. Analene Pentopoulos, an OB/GYN at the Columbia River Women’s Center. “She is kind, knowledgeable, compassionate and brings a great energy to the clinic.”

Having Fun in Oregon

Dr. Guild hopes to have children of her own one day, although after years of training to be an OB/GYN, she is enjoying her free time. She spends most weekends visiting friends and family or entertaining house guests. Her family is used to being spread out around the country, so they make togetherness a priority.

“Thanks to living in such a fun and interesting place, everybody wants to come visits us here,” she said.

When Dr. Guild is not visiting with family, she likes being in nature by camping and hiking. She also spends time working on the house that she and Dan purchased in The Dalles. She is looking forward to planting a vegetable garden this spring.

“Everything grows well in Oregon, “she said.

Dr. Guild is also passionate about long-distance running. During residency, she did two half marathons every year, but did not have much time to train. This year, she is signing up fora half marathon in May and will enjoy long training runs along the riverfront path near her house in The Dalles.