SPRINGFIELD, Mo- Dr. Kathleen Graves has served the Ozarks as an OB/GYN for nearly 35 years.

Come January 15th, 2020, Dr. Graves will retire from Cox.

Dr. Graves says due to health issues with her lungs, she has to retire.

“It’s hard to give me a diagnosis because it’s so unusual. I have maybe asthma, maybe recurrent, persistent pneumonia,” says Dr. Graves.

But Dr. Graves shares her nearly 35 years in Springfield have been rewarding and challenging when it comes to her work.

She says she did not want to be a doctor at first; instead, Dr. Graves wanted to be a teacher, but her peers told her she was too smart for that. After a couple of college major changes, she landed on biochemistry and molecular genetics.

“In my junior year, my organic chemistry teacher told me and my best friend, we should go take the MCATs,” says Dr. Graves.

She wanted to be an OB/GYN because of the diversity of the field.

“You get to do a little bit of everything. You can deliver babies, low risk, high risk. You can do surgery, you know hysterectomies and different surgeries,” says Dr. Graves. She goes on to say that she can even serve as a primary care physician.

She first came to Springfield in 1985 as the first female OB/GYN at what was then St. Johns, and throughout the 1990’s Dr. Graves moved her way to Cox South.

During her time at Cox, she has delivered many babies, at all times of the day, helped women battle infertility with different options like in vitro fertilization, and has seen generations of women in one family become patients.

Dr. Graves says that in the 90s that women did not want to see a woman OB/GYN.

“It was male dominant at that point, and there were women who did not want to see a woman, but it’s changed a lot now because it’s more even. Now women want to see women because we understand what they’re going through,” says Dr. Graves.

She goes on to say that during her years, she has not had any problems with male OB/GYN doctors in the area.

Dr. Graves says her retirement is going to be bittersweet. She says she plans on just relaxing here in Springfield and working out her health issues as well as getting a Facebook account to stay up-to-date with her kids and grandkids.