At the age of three Orlando, Florida native Dr. Lauren Wooten knew she wanted to be a doctor. As a teenager she had the opportunity to go on mission trips to China, Trinidad and the United States through her church. Growing up in the Baptist faith, mission work was important to Wooten, who sees her current job as a type of mission work.

"I thought the best way for me to do mission type work would be through medicine," she said. "People often focus mission work on other countries, but they neglect the need for mission work at home."

She was inspired to be a doctor by her mother's oncologist at the Florida Hospital in Orlando. Wooten was just 18 years old when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She passed away eight years later in 2008.

"He was so kind and I really just wanted to emulate the way that he was with his patients. You know these patients would come in for the first time, many looking scared out of their minds and crying, and I thought he was really good at trying to comfort people and helping them get through a difficult time," she said.

Wooten earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from the University of South Florida. She studied at St. Matthew's University School of Medicine, in the Cayman Islands, and the University of Saint Eustatius School of Medicine in Saint Maarten, where she received her Doctor of Medicine. Wooten did her residency training at Summa Barberton Hospital in Barberton, Ohio. She chose to do her in residency in Ohio after meeting the father of a friend who was an OBGYN at the Barberton Hospital.

After having difficulty choosing a speciality, Wooten said she chose family medicine because it gives her a well-balanced practice to treat the whole body. "Sometimes you want to be all things to all people," she said.

"Treating someone's family is an honor because if they trust you with their children and with their parents, grandparents, and themselves, I think that is a lot of trust," Wooten said. "I feel like you are connecting with the patients when you treat the whole family. In family medicine, you are basically treating someone from the cradle to the grave,"

She said it is nice to watch children grow up and she looks forward to treating multiple generations of families.

Wooten, who resides in Barnesville, came to the area in September of 2016 as an independently contracted physician at the Monroe Family Health Center in Woodsfield, replacing Dr. Rajnish Gupta, who had practiced medicine in Monroe County for 25 years. Dr. Wooten also sees patients at the Barnesville Family Health Center every Wednesday afternoon. The Barnesville location recently added Saturday hours as well.

She said the centers offer everything from well checkups to pap and breast exams, immunizations and blood work, and even x-rays. Wooten said patients can also receive care for chronic conditions. She is accepting new patients. The Monroe Family Health Center phone number is (740) 472-0757 and the Barnesville Family Health Center phone number is (740) 425-5160.