The Wewahitchka Medical Center has always aimed to deliver high levels of primary care and with the addition of a new doctor; they’ve doubled their ability to do so.
Dr. Angel Cortes joined the team in April but brings 13 years of medical experience to the Wewahitchka Medical Center
Originally born in Chicago, Cortes’ family moved to Puerto Rico when he was very young. There he attended primary school and eventually enrolled in Puerto Rico State University where he studied biology.
Cortes grew up alongside classmates who changed their ideal career paths about as often as they changed their socks, but he always had a clear vision for his future plans.
“I always said I was going to be a doctor,” said Cortes with a smile.
After getting his Bachelor’s degree in 1992, he relocated to Mexico and attended medical school at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara.
It was there that he met his future wife, who is also a doctor. After completing medical school the couple moved back to Puerto Rico where Cortes opened his own private office.
Unhappy with the health care system in Puerto Rico and the countless amount of administrative work that came with it, Cortes returned to Mexico where he taught urology at his alma mater while seeking out employment in the United States.
After interviewing with North Florida Medical Centers he was offered a position with in Wewahitchka. He began his employment and took the first step toward getting back to what he believed he was best at: treating patients.
“I’m going to give to the patient what the patient needs,” Cortes said. “I’m focused on people’s problems and solving them.”
Cortes has a firm belief in patient education as much as treatment and said he spends with patients to ensure that they understand how to properly manage their conditions.
“My years working in Mexico taught me not to depend on medical studies,” said Cortes. “I look for signs and symptoms. You have to know your patients.”
Cortes currently lives in Tallahassee with his wife. They have a son, 17, and daughter, 13. In his limited free time, Cortes said that he enjoys reading, trying new foods and spending time with his family.
Cortes joined Ann Rubin a physician’s assistant and five-year employee of the medical center.
Rubin is a resident of Port St. Joe who grew up in Tallahassee. She became interested in a career in medicine when, at a young age, a close friend passed away from anemia.
Rubin said that she wanted to help the friend, but her inability to do so led to her enrolling at the University of Florida where she received her Bachelor’s degree in rehab counseling.
After graduating, she took a position in Tallahassee teaching biology and physics at a high school.
After two years of teaching she moved to Port St. Joe and spent a year teaching at Wewahitchka High School before she left to pursue her Master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale.
Before she left for her second round of school, Rubin told her friends and coworkers that she’d be back.
Rubin was true to her word and after completing her studies; she made her way back to Gulf County and for many years was the only physician for primary care at the Wewahitchka Medical Center.
“I like the area,” said Rubin. “I like the people here. Everyone’s very friendly.”
Much Cortes, Rubin places a strong emphasis on preventative health. She encourages her patients to get regular physicals and colonoscopies in order to catch possible problems before they can develop into something worse.
“You have to make sure that everything is getting taken care of,” Rubin said.
In her free time, Rubin enjoys fishing and playing golf, though she claimed that she isn’t very good at either one. Last year, she and her husband welcomed the birth of their first child, a son.
Center manager Katrina Saunders said she was pleased to have Cortes on board and praised him for his interest in his patients. She said that she enjoyed watching Cortes and Rubin work so well with one another.
“I see them collaborating and sharing knowledge,” said Saunders. “Their approaches may seem different, but their desire for patient health is the same. I’m probably being spoiled by their dedication to what they do.”
The Wewahitchka Medical center is a Federally Qualified Health Care Center that has operated for 35 years. They accept Medicaid, Medicare and have a sliding fee scale for patients without insurance.
The Wewahitchka Medical Center offers same day appointments, overnight lab work and is currently seeking a licensed clinical social worker in order to offer mental health services to the community.