Doctor and Midwife Biographies
Richard J. Levy, M.D.
I grew up in Chicago’s northern suburbs. I wanted to be a doctor for as long as I could talk, even though there were no other doctors in my family. I went to college at Northwestern University in Evanston. While I was there the football team went three seasons without a victory. Growing up, I always wanted to be a pediatrician. However, after my OB/GYNE rotation while at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, I realized that this was the perfect medical specialty. It offered long-term relationships with patients along with an interesting variety of surgeries. Also, nothing is more fun than helping people deliver their babies.
After living my whole life in the Chicago area, I deliberately left to do my residency in San Antonio, Texas at the University of Texas. San Antonio is culturally very different from Chicago and I loved my four years there as a “Transplanted Texan.” The lure of raising our children near family attracted me to move back to Chicago.
I have been very involved at Northwest Community Hospital since i joined its medical staff in 1986. I was on the Department of OB/GYNE Quality Assurance Committee for eight years and was chairman of that committee for two years. That group is in charge of overseeing the overall care given to patients by all of the obstetricians and gynecologists at Northwest Community Hospital. I was elected to a two-year term as chairman of the OB/GYNE department in 1996-1997. I was the youngest doctor in the history of Northwest Community Hospital to serve in that capacity.
I was elected president of the 750 member medical and dental staff of Northwest Community Hospital in 2000 after being elected Secretary/Treasurer of the staff in 1998 and Vice-President in 1999. I also served as a full voting member of the Northwest Community Hospital board of directors from 1998-2001. I was the chairman if the medical staff bylaws committee in 2004 & 2010.
I love all sports, particularly the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks. I also love to travel. I have three children, Matthew, Lauren and Melanie.
I am a member of American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Medical Association, Illinois State Medical Society, and Chicago Medical Society. I have been a Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists since 1988.
Karen L. Collins, M.D.
I’ve lived in Cook County most of my life. I was born in Chicago, and moved to Hanover Park when I was 8 years old. I attended the “old” Elgin High School and was fortunate enough to attend Northwestern University. There I majored in chemistry and met my husband, Randy, who has an electrical engineering degree but is our household computer guru. University of Illinois, Chicago, was the next step for medical school followed by a residency at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center. I was then pleasantly surprised to obtain a position in Hoffman Estates, part of North Suburban Clinic, in its better days. I left that practice in 1990 and joined Northwest Physicians for Women; that practice merged with two others in 1995 to form Northwest Associates for Women. My days there ended in December 2002, and now I am excited to be with Dr. Levy and his practice in Arlington Heights.
I have 4 brothers and 2 sisters, and my husband is one of 14 children. However, we are quite content with our 2 sons, Drew and Benjamin. They are complete opposites in interests and personalities and keep us guessing. Both are now in college.
My special interests are PMS and menopause transitions. Over the years, I have developed quite an interest in complementary and alternative medicine, and have tried to incorporate what I’ve learned into my everyday life. I’m always interested in what patients have tried and what resources they may have found. I believe the doctor-patient relationship should be a partnership in order to find out what bring about the best results for a given woman in a given situation. I’m also a strong advocate of screening exams, such as mammograms, colon cancer screening, osteoporosis screening and screening for heart disease risk factors.
I have been on staff at St. Alexius Medical Center and Northwest Community Hospital. I have been involved with St. Alexius Medical Center’s quality assurance committee and still attend committee meetings there. I am a member of American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, North American Menopause Society, American Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, as well as, American Medical Association, Chicago Medical Society, and Illinois State Medical Society.
Chris Butler, M.S., A.P.N., C.N.M.
My father was a Navy officer, so as I grew up we moved down the east coast from New York to South Carolina, up to Michigan, and finally to Great Lakes Naval Training Center north of Chicago. Our family visited every local zoo, museum and historic site along the way. When my dad left the Navy, we settled in Wheaton where I finished the last three years of high school – the longest I had ever attended one school.
I began my nursing career with an Associate degree from College of DuPage. After two years in medical-surgical nursing I worked as a hospital labor & delivery nurse for five years. During that time, I was present when my cousin gave birth at home attended by a doctor/nurse team. I eventually began working for the same practice as a birth and postpartum nurse and a childbirth class instructor. I learned about the many variations of normal labor and birth by observing and supporting women giving birth at home.
I had always had it in the back of my mind that I would someday become a midwife. With my children in their teens, I decided that the time had come. I went back to school, got my bachelor’s degree from Lewis University and went on to midwifery training at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After more than 20 years as an OB nurse, I became a Certified Nurse Midwife in 2002. I was then qualified to care for low-risk women during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum, and to provide well woman care, such as annual exams and contraception.
For a few years I continued to attend homebirths as a midwife, partnering with doctors and other midwives; then moved into hospital practice. Homebirth is safe when low-risk women are cared for by trained attendants, but only about 1% of women in the U.S. give birth at home and most Certified Nurse Midwives deliver babies in hospitals.
In the hospital setting I have cared for women with a broad range of backgrounds, needs and desires. I support women’s choices, whether they want to give birth without pain medication or with an epidural. I believe that women should be the ones to make decisions about their bodies, their babies, and their lives. My goal is to provide high quality health care in partnership with women, in an environment of compassion and respect, and to provide support and information empowering women to make their own choices within an integrated healthcare system. I use what I have learned from both home and hospital settings to meet the individual needs of each woman I care for. I am also able to offer my expertise in helping mothers to breastfeed gained through my six years of experience as a volunteer La Leche League leader.
My husband, Tim, and I have been married for over 30 years. He is one of the few carpenters knowledgeable about pregnancy, labor and birth; I’m one of the few midwives knowledgeable about construction. The first of our two grown sons, Ian, was born in a hospital. Our second son, Drew, was born at home. They were both breastfed, and they both turned out fine.
Kim Dennis, M.S., A.P.N., C.N.M.
Throughout my nearly 20 years in the health care field, I’ve remained focused on providing sound, holistic services to women—helping treat them in mind, body, and spirit.
Growing up in the small town of Belvidere, Illinois, I knew that I wanted to be in the medical field since the second grade. When I began studying at University of Illinois Chicago, I had no idea that my passion for health care would take me as far as it has. As part of my studies in Women’s Health, I was asked to read the book A Midwife’s Story. The book inspired me, and from that point, I knew what I wanted to do.
I completed my Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Women’s Health and Chemistry and immediately applied to the nursing program. After completing my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, I began working on the Mother Baby unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care unit at Rush Presbyterian, St. Luke’s Hospital.
After a couple of years, I married my husband, moved to the suburbs and began working at Alexian Brothers Medical Center. With more than 10 years as a delivery nurse under my belt at Alexian Brothers, I finally felt ready to move forward in becoming a midwife. With the guidance of mentors and instructors who are highly regarded in their fields, I graduated with honors from the prestigious Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.—receiving a dual Master of Science in Nursing degree that allows me to be both a Certified Nurse Midwife as well as a board-certified Woman’s Health Nurse Practitioner. Once I received my degree, I worked at a private practice until I came to Northwest Professional OB/GYN.
My passion for women’s rights has always been a driver in what I do. While I attended UIC, I became a member of numerous organizations dedicated to women’s advocacy and equality—a cause that I continue to strive for today.
Being a midwife has always been an extension of that and has affected me personally as well as professionally. With the help of a talented midwife, my husband and I were able to welcome our three wonderful boys into the world. Each day that I look at my children, I am reminded of how profound the impact of a midwife can be.
I’m very happy to be part of Northwest Professional OB/GYN, and I look forward to continuing working and advocating for women.
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