Seeking health and wellness care in the South Bay? The world-class female physicians at Providence Little Company of Mary offer excellent and compassionate care through a wide range of services—right here in your neighborhood.
- CategoryHealth, People
- Written byVictoria Clayton & Laura L.Watts
- Photographed bySiri Berting
Maternity. Pediatrics. Pelvic health. Cancer services. Heart care. Providence Little Company of Mary is proud to lead the way in women’s and children’s health and wellness care. They know that keeping women and their families strong keeps the community strong. The hospital’s physicians, nurses and support staff are committed to providing world-class medical care, right here at home.
Providence offers women a personalized birth experience that includes open-minded medical professionals, freshly renovated private suites, one of the lowest C-section rates in the state—important for the health and safety of mothers—and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that provides maximum safety for baby and mom. She may be slightly biased, but OB-GYN Denise A. Ishimaru, MD, says there couldn’t be a better place to have a baby than Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance.
“I’m so proud of our track record with safety and low C-section rates, which decrease complications and the need for future cesarean births,” she shares. “But the underlying reason we’re successful is also why patients love us: The whole hospital works as a team to ensure that mom and baby get the best outcome possible. Women can feel our dedication and that warm, nurturing embrace from the moment they enter the facility.”
Dr. Ishimaru says that of all the perks that moms and families appreciate most, which set the Providence maternity department apart from other birthing experiences— including the comprehensive suites that offer a home-like environment—the highlight is that the team listens and respects their choices. “We provide information and education, but women decide what kind of birth they want. We welcome doulas (a support person who provides guidance and encouragement throughout childbirth) and certified nurse midwives with open arms. We also have laborists (board-certified physicians who specialize in OB-GYN) available 24-7 to provide backup for the attending obstetrician and to quickly intervene in case of emergency.”
Pediatrics, L to R: Jessica Ramirez, MD, Alice Diego-Malit, MD, Tristy S. Shaw, MD, Hannah Kim, MD | Not pictured: Kristen Andersen, MD, Emily Curran, MD, Genesa Wagoner, MD
Being a mom herself, pediatrician Tristy Shaw, MD, knows that taking care of a child is a whole-family endeavor and that reducing parental anxiety makes for the healthiest, happiest kids. “Whether educating about breastfeeding or discussing immunizations, we take a lot of time with families and answer all of their questions,” she shares.
Providence provides 24-7 on-call pediatricians in an office that may feel small but offers the advantages of a large medical network. “Many of our families stay within the Providence system for their health care because of our office feeling like the neighborhood doctor yet being part of a large health care system. It feels familiar, and it’s easy to share information and get consistent care,” says Dr. Shaw.
When a child requires hospitalization, the Providence pediatric unit offers a family-friendly environment designed with age-appropriate medical equipment that is staffed by a caring team of nurses experienced in treating the youngest patients. The hospital’s emergency room has been certified as an Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and staffs a board-certified emergency pediatric physician to care for children when offices are closed.
The pediatric team treats children holistically—caring for mind, body and spirit—while working hand-in-hand with the family. Providence helps family members play an active role in their child’s healing and well-being.
Pelvic Health, L to R: Erin M. Mellano, MD, Shelby Morrisroe, MD
For many women with pelvic floor disorders, their condition feels uncomfortable and embarrassing. Providence Little Company of Mary, in collaboration with UCLA Health, offers innovative treatment by expert urologists and uro-gynecologists for a range of urinary and pelvic health issues. They offer compassionate care in a peaceful and sympathetic environment.
“The partnership means that our small beach community has all the resources of a major academic institution,” says UCLA Health urogynecologist Erin M. Mellano, MD, whose office is at Torrance OB-GYN.
Dr. Mellano’s devotion to women starts with simply getting the word out that while pelvic health, bladder or rectal issues may be common, they are not something you have to live with. “We definitely need more awareness. A lot of women don’t realize there are a range of treatments, and many don’t involve surgery,” she says.
Dr. Mellano trained for an extra three years in pelvic floor disorders and specializes in overactive bladder, urinary incontinence, prolapse, urinary tract and vaginal infections, abnormal uterine bleeding, pelvic pain and menopausal care. “Pelvic disorders are underrepresented and underassessed because too many women suffer alone with the problems,” she says. “Don’t! We can help, and we’re right here in Torrance.”
Cancer Services, L to R: Lorena Gonzalez, MD, Sariah Liu, MD, Diane Prager, MD | Not pictured: Hannah Nien, MD, Diane Tam Singer, MD
Thanks to a 2018 partnership with City of Hope, Providence Little Company of Mary brings National Cancer Institute-designated care to the South Bay. Located at the Advanced Care Center at 5215 Torrance Boulevard, City of Hope | South Bay offers comprehensive breast cancer care, including clinical trials, diagnosis, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and genetic counseling.
During non-COVID-19 times, City of Hope I South Bay also features the Positive Image Center—a unique boutique for cancer care patients. “I’m really happy that our Positive Image Center can serve the community when things get back to normal,” says breast surgeon Lorena Gonzalez, MD, assistant clinical professor in the department of surgery at City of Hope. “It’s a store and salon that offers prostheses, special bras, wigs and a lot more for women who are experiencing physical changes due to their treatment.”
A breast cancer survivor herself, Dr. Gonzalez considers it her calling to help other women beat cancer. “Everything a patient could need is here at Providence Little Company of Mary and at City of Hope | South Bay,” she says. “This partnership ensures the latest and best treatments are available right here in the community. There’s no need to drive to the City of Hope campus in Duarte to get world-class, gold standard care.”
A partnership with Keck Medicine of USC and Providence Little Company of Mary means world-class cardiac care at the Del Vicario Cardiovascular Center of Excellence. This South Bay heart care program offers noninvasive diagnostics and interventional therapies and treatments by expert cardiologists and surgeons.
Being a heart-centered community means one important thing to interventional cardiologist Nazanin Azadi, MD: “We can do everything right here for anyone with a heart problem. We are truly a comprehensive heart care center.”
With a structural heart program for valve replacements, a coronary artery program for stents and the capability to treat pulmonary embolisms, Providence Little Company of Mary is the preferred hospital for anyone in the area experiencing heart disease. Teaming up with USC cardiothoracic specialists means issues like complex valve repairs, revision surgeries, and double and triple valve replacements can be handled right here at home.
The Providence cardiovascular program emphasizes prevention and education so patients can live a longer, healthier life—something Dr. Azadi is passionate about. “Heart disease is the #1 killer of women— and different in women than men—though many people still falsely believe it’s a man’s disease,” she says. “I work really hard to speak to women about heart health. I promise you, I will always listen to my patients’ concerns.”
Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers
4101 Torrance Blvd., Torrance | 310-540-7676 | 1300 W. 7th St., San Pedro | 310-832-3311
Heart Care, L to R: Thi Dang, MD, Nazanin Azadi, MD | Not pictured: Shazia M. Hasan, MD