TOLEDO -- Family Physician Adree (Long) Venatta, MD, may be one of the newest doctors at Sarah Bush Lincoln, but she’s a familiar face to the people of Cumberland County.
Dr. Venatta grew up in Toledo and she looks forward to reconnecting with and caring for people at the SBL Toledo Clinic. She will also travel to the SBL Casey Clinic, where she will work with Nurse Practitioner Diana Oakley, APN, to provide care. Dr. Venatta returns to the community after providing medical care for five years at Family Healthcare of Hoopeston, where she also offered obstetric care and delivered babies at Gibson Area Hospital.
“It’s kind of fun to move back,” she said, adding that she’s excited to raise her two sons in her close-knit hometown. “By living and working in the community, I hope to bring some consistency and trust to people for their medical care,” she said.
Dr. Venatta doesn’t recall a specific moment in her life when she decided to become a doctor -- the first in her family -- but she always knew something about it appealed to her. “I thought the science was fascinating and intellectually challenging, but I also wanted to do something with people. Medicine just seemed like a natural fit for me,” she said.
After graduating as valedictorian from Cumberland High School, Dr. Venatta received a bachelor of science in cellular and molecular biology from Bradley University in Peoria in 2005. A month prior to starting medical school at Southern Illinois University, she married Jacob Venatta, a high school classmate. “It was a busy time!” she said. Dr. Venatta and her husband had their first son two weeks before she graduated from medical school in 2009.
During medical school, Dr. Venatta discovered that she enjoyed different aspects of all specialties and decided to pursue family medicine. “I like the fact that family medicine integrates many of the specialties. You have to know a little bit about everything, because you have to take care of all types of people -- from the young and healthy to the older people who often have many different medical issues,” she said.
Dr. Venatta completed a three-year residency in family medicine at University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria, with a special focus in women’s health and obstetrics. “I like being able to combine maternity care as part of family medicine. I felt like I could take better care of mom if I was also able to take care of her kids,” she said. She gained experience caring for women throughout their pregnancies at a rural maternity care clinic in Havana. “I particularly enjoyed taking care of people in a rural community, and I think it helped prepare me for practicing in a rural environment,” she said.
While it was challenging completing a residency as a new mom herself, it also helped prepare her as a doctor. “It helped me become a better caretaker, especially of the kids. As a mom myself, I’m able to give that first-hand advice as well as provide medical advice,” she said.
Dr. Venatta is most excited about the prospect of establishing new relationships and being part of the community, although she no longer provides obstetrical care. “I enjoy building long-term relationships and educating people about all aspects of healthcare. I especially like helping people with chronic diseases understand how we can work together to improve their condition and seeing them grow and take better care of themselves. I see myself as their guide, and I like to do a lot of shared decision making,” she said.
To make an appointment with Dr. Venatta, call the SBL Toledo Clinic at 217-849-3151, or the SBL Casey Clinic at 217-932-4061, or go to www.sarahbush.org.