I first met Dr. Susan Haney in the operating room. I was a doula for a mother pregnant with twins who had gone into labor that morning and progressed quickly. Vaginal twin deliveries are typically done in the operating room in case a cesarean birth becomes necessary. As I offered reassurance to the mother and her partner, I watched Dr. Haney calmly and carefully deliver two healthy baby girls. I remember the first time I ran into her after that delivery because I did a double take. In that moment in the OR, she had appeared to me twice her actual size―such was her presence and command of that space. I was amused to find this behemoth of the delivery room was actually quite petite. Over the years, I would have the opportunity to watch her in action several times and I knew that I wanted her as my gynecologist and surgeon.
As formidable as Sue Haney is in the operating room, she is warm and affable in our appointments. She pulls the stool close and leans in to listen to me. She draws my cycle out on a piece of note-paper with an arrow on day 15, indicating when to begin taking the medication she has prescribed. She offers an alternative in the form of a supplement if I decide to go a non-hormonal route. She cites a study and discusses the role of calcium receptors and why this may help with symptoms of PMS. But she had me at “study:” it is this kind of nerdy attention to detail that I appreciate so much. Combined with her kind bedside manner and her surgical precision, Dr. Haney is the kind of doctor who listens as well as she treats.
When I sat down to talk with Dr. Haney about her achievements at a local coffee shop, she was in the midst of tying up loose ends for a medical mission trip to Africa, where she would be working with residents at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya. Now retired from clinical practice and working as a laborist she still logs a 40 hour work week. This is not the first trip for the philanthropic doctor who has traveled outside the United States five times on medical missions to Nepal, Bhutan, and Haiti. When I ask her why she devotes her limited free time to international travel for more work, she seems to almost not understand the question. Her expression seems to say, “why wouldn’t I?” Dr. Haney explains that philanthropy was long ago mapped out as a part of her personal code of ethics and her explanation evokes the feelings of social and civic responsibility that she feels accountable to.
From her post in Tenwek, she keeps her friends, family and co-workers updated via social media. In one photo, she holds a baby she has delivered safely into this world and her smile speaks to the joy that she gets from her work. Her pictures highlight the privilege of our healthcare system and the value of the time she has given to educating the next generation of physicians making a difference for mothers.
Dr. Haney contributes greatly to the Colorado community too, to such organizations as Sexual Assault Victims Advocates (SAVA) and 3Hopeful Hearts. Dr. Haney feels their mission to help victims of sexual violence is an extension of her responsibility on the front lines of women’s health care. I have to draw out every detail in our conversation; she’s humble about her contributions. She feels grateful to be able to give and this is so much a part of her that talking about it almost seems superfluous.
Back home in Colorado, posing in a flannel shirt and holding a John Deere hat Dr. Haney announced on Facebook that she had purchased farmland in her home state of Indiana. When I ask her about this, she speaks warmly about her family in “Hoosierland,” where she eventually will return when she retires. To paint an entire portrait of Sue Haney one would need a very large canvas. A lover of cats, a skilled surgeon, a warm bedside physician, world traveler, philanthropist, and down to earth Midwesterner devoted to her family. If you have known any one side of Dr. Sue Haney, you are fortunate.
Earlier this year, Dr. Haney was nominated for BizWest’s Women of Distinction award by Kristin Glenn of The Women’s Clinic. The text of the nomination is below.
Dr. Sue Haney has been active in the field of women’s health care since 1993. Her goals to empower women to understand their bodies and their access to quality care are inspirational. During her 25 year tenure at the Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado she has cared for many thousands of women and her reviews really capture the way she approaches providing care: “Unbelievably amazing bed-side manner with her patients”, “She is professional, impressively knowledgeable and trustworthy”, “She lets you know she cares and treats you as if you are her only patient”, “I trust her with my life and the life of my unborn child… I thought doctors like this only existed in the movies”. Dr. Haney also assures that the medical assistants and nurses feel valued in her practice. She is a favorite at UCH facilities and has recently transitioned to the role of Laborist/Hospitalist. Sue’s compassion exceeds the field of OB/GYN and she is strong supporter of local non-profits such as SAVA and 3Hopeful Hearts. She is an outspoken advocate for women and families during their darkest of times. Dr. Haney often travels to other countries, such as Bhutan, Nepal, and Haiti, on medical mission trips to assure that under-served families also receive quality care.
About the author:
Jennifer Hoover is a maternal-child health specialist, board certified lactation consultant, childbirth educator and writer for The Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado.