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OB/GYN Dept. - Kaiser Oakland

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2010 - 2014 Reviews


Kaiser Oakland OB/GYN recommendation

Sept 2014

There are only 3 female MD's (I prefer a female) accepting new patients in Oakland at this time: Aubrey Smith Rima Goldman Sonia Ordonez
And 3 female NP's: Ann O'Connor Gabriela Dela Riva Elaine Staveley
Anybody have any input on any of these practitioners?
I am looking for someone with experience, a good bedside manner, and low key on interventions. Thanks! rachel


I highly recommend Aubrey Smith. I joined Kaiser in December 2013, 10 weeks pregnant. I saw Dr. Smith for all my prenatal visits and she was wonderful. She always took time to answer all my questions (of which I sometimes brought printed lists to my appointments) and never made me feel rushed. She is also very reachable by e-mail, and would usually respond to any messages I sent her at kp.org in a few hours, even on Sundays. She was wonderfully kind throughout the whole pregnancy, and made me feel like she truly cared about me as a patient. I had to go to the emergency room once during the pregnancy and that night, she called my cell phone after work (6pm) to check up on me and see how I was feeling. She is the best doctor I've ever had. She only works in the clinic and doesn't delivery any babies in the hospital. I wanted very little interventions during labor and delivery, and chose to deliver at Walnut Creek instead of Oakland because I thought they would accommodate that better. She was really supportive of that choice. Good luck finding a doctor that works for you! Mollie
At the very end of my pregnancy I saw NP Elaine Staveley for an appointment when my regular OB/GYN was out of the office, and I found myself wishing she had been my practitioner all along. I was already pretty unhappy with my other doctor at that point and so I switched to NP Staveley shortly after my baby was born. She seems to have a ton of knowledge and a reassuring yet matter-of-fact bedside manner. She is British and I believe was trained in the UK as a midwife. I have only seen her twice, but have consulted her via email a few times and have been quite happy with her. R.
I had reason to visit Kaiser's OB/GYN department a lot last year, and was seen by a few of the doctors and NPs on your list. Dr. Ordonez stood out to me as the very best -- efficient yet thorough, glad to discuss treatment options, excellent with all the details. I was thrilled to learn she was accepting new patients then and I switched to her care immediately. I'm still happy and I highly recommend her. Anon
Hi-I think Ann O'Connor was on your list. I can recommend her very highly. No one likes to go to the gyn, and I'm borderline phobic. She's seen me through my pregnancies and some health scares as well as years of routine care. I feel like she really knows me and cares about me. She's very experienced and knowledgable. The only downside is that she often runs late and keeps me waiting, but I figure that's because she gives all her patients extra time. So, I just bring a book. Anon

Kaiser OB/GYN in favor of natural childbirth

July 2014

Pregnant with my second and new to Kaiser. Had an amazing natural childbirth at St. Luke's in San Francisco with my first, and would love to have the same type of experience with my second. Live in Oakland but am willing to travel for the right person and birthing experience. Can you recommend someone who is kind, knowledgeable and not just tolerant of but in favor of natural childbirth as well as minimally invasive prenatal care. Thank you! rachel


Congrats on the coming baby! We also live in Oakland and are getting ready to have baby #2 with Kaiser. The first was a wonderful unmedicated birth at Kaiser Oakland, and hopefully the second will be as well. My experience with my own OB and the few others I have seen is that broadly speaking, Kaiser is very supportive of natural/drug-free childbirth, and pretty minimalist in their prenatal care to start (they have wider windows between appointments than many practices, and unless you are AMA, very few ultrasounds, etc.--you can also always decline these).

The trick with Kaiser, though, is that when it comes down to it, your OB will almost certainly not attend the birth--instead, if you deliver at Oakland, it will be a resident, the nursing staff, and perhaps the attending OB who is on call that day. At other Kaiser locations that are not teaching hospitals, it's midwives instead of residents. So you do not have full control over who is there on the actual day of the birth, and that makes the biggest difference (in my view) in how a natural birth goes, especially if you are hoping to skip drugs.

We were lucky and had an amazing team for our first delivery--all of the residents I interacted with were very supportive of/knowledgeable about natural childbirth and the nurses on shift at the time were stellar, suggesting different pain strategies almost like a doula might. Both nurses and residents asked about our preferences/birth plan and paid attention to our answers. Kaiser's standard practices on things like waiting to cut the cord, immediate skin-to-skin contact, supporting breastfeeding, etc. are all pretty progressive (in keeping with most Bay Area hospitals, from what I hear).

However, I had absolutely no control over that, and it could have been a very different experience with a different set of nurses, in particular (since you will see them much more often than the doctors, who just pop in every once in a while to see how things are progressing and then for the actual delivery). Going into birth #2, I feel pretty empowered to be clear about my choices and decisions after doing this once before, so I think it will be fine even if the L&D team isn't as supportive as last time. But if you are concerned about it, you can hire a doula, who can help to advocate for you and support you even if you wind up with less than supportive nurses. There are several who work regularly at Kaiser Oakland and are familiar with how things work there.

For OBs, check first to see whose panels are open--these are the people you can choose from. Then you can post again to BPN with the specific names to see what kinds of experiences folks have had with prenatal care with the particular doctors available to you. (I've found that panels often open up early in the month, too, so if there's someone you particularly like, you may have better luck getting a spot in early August, too.) Another Kaiser mama


I had 2 children thru Kaiser both delivered 'naturally' (no drugs, interventions, etc). Since your Dr is not necessarily the one to help you deliver your child it doesn't really matter whether who you see is 'pro' or 'anti' NC, you know? All in all I found Kaiser to be completely encouraging and respectful of my intentions to deliver naturally. Hire a doula so you can have an advocate in the room with you - I found that extremely helpful as well. Good luck! kaiser mama
Kaiser will meet this need. I keep seeing questions on BPN looking for ObGyns who support natural childbirth. I don't understand why people still think this is hard to find. In fact you'd have to work pretty hard to find a doctor around here who doesn't support natural childbirth, Kaiser or otherwise. I had natural drug-free births at Kaiser Oakland 28 and 31 years ago, totally supported by the docs and nurses, and from all indications (see past discussions on BPN) this has continued to be the case.

It seems like word would have gotten out by now that Kaiser and practically everyone else supports natural childbirth. It ain't 1959 anymore


Kaiser Oakland Ob Gyn recs

March 2014

I'm continually on the hunt for an Ob/Gyn that I trust and have mutual respect for; and that is also accepting new patients... Does anyone have experience with Dr. Ordonez? I am trying to conceive our second, and our first was born at Sacred Birth so we're planning a home birth or another birth center birth. I'd like to find a doctor who is accepting of that and respects my decisions and knowledge of my body. Any insight on Dr. Ordonez would be very helpful! Or any of the following (currently with an open panel): Seema Shah, Rima Goldman, Aubrey Smith,Meena Shankar, Elaine Stavely or Ann O'Connor. L


I recommend Dr. Erika Deraleau at Kaiser Oakland. She's been totally great with our decision to go with a birthing center. She's always super on top of it and has a lot of energy and enthusiasm. We actually switched to her after not having the greatest experience with another doctor you mentioned. Her undergraduate work was in Women's Studies, so I felt like she would be supportive of our decision, and that turned out to be so. Also, if you're hunting for a birthing center, may I suggest Pacifica Family Maternity Center which opened up about a year and a half ago so the facilities are superb. More importantly, the midwives and women staffing there are absolutely phenomenal...intelligent, warm, supportive, and very competent. A
You cant go wrong with Ann O'Connor! Grab a spot with her if she still has one. The only downside is that she's so generous with her time that she often keeps people waiting. I can't say enough good things about her! Long time satisfied patient
I have experience with two practicioners from your list: Stavley and O'Connor. I believe neither one is a doctor, which is fine if your pregnancy has no issues. They are equally knowledgeable and warm, but I prefer Ann O'Connor. There was one time when they were doing an ultrasound and couldn't find the baby and thought there may be an issue, so I was upset and Stavley panicked and forgot to forward my paperwork to another paperwork she sent me on to, so I had to deal with her being panicked rather than her taking care of me. It could be it was an off day for her, but I still remember, 13 years later!

As for Ann, I've seen her for over 13 years as well, and she's still my nurse practitioner (in addition to an OBGYN doctor I am assigned to). She knows when to go to an MD if there's an issue, and is very capable to deal with ''regular'' pregnancies. She's also great after the delivery, b/c she is very good with hands on solutions for plugged ducts (she's unplugged those for me multiple times after my first child was born). Not sure if I answered your question, but hope this helps. Good luck!


Seeking recommendations for a Kaiser gynocologist

Dec 2013

My Kaiser gynocologist will likely retire in 2014 and I am seeking recommendations for someone in the KP Oakland, Alameda, or Hayward(soon to be San Leandro) medical centers. Note I left off the ''OB'' in OB/GYN -- I am in my late 50s and would like someone who can care for a nearly-post-menopausal type like me. All suggestions are welcome. Thanks. Anon


I see Ann O'Connor at Kaiser Oakland and think she's just fantastic. Competent, calm, respectful -- I recommend her highly. Naomi
Judith Lamberti at Oakland Kaiser has been my gynecologist for many years and I think she's tops. She also has good instincts and figures things out that flumox other doctors. Joyce

Good Kaiser Oakland OB GYN?

Sept 2013

Hello, Looking for a good Kaiser OB/Gyn (Oakland) who can remove a simple post-partum skin tag on vaginal opening and that is not alarmist about homebirths (since I had developed some high blood pressure during pregnancy my current OB wanted to induce me at 39 wks despite no other pre-eclampsia symptoms-midwife stated this was legally and not clinically motivated and baby came naturally at home a week later w close monitoring of my BP. It was not high during labor. So thankful I had my midwife as a medical advocate, even if I'd have birthed at the hospital) . Current gyn supposedly clipped off skin tag (about 3 months ago), put in two stitches, was rough and had to add lidocaine as she went along -- it hurt!! However, I see the tag is still there, is still painful when I spread my legs/wash myself. Sometimes it bleeds a little. Any good ppl out there? Thank you!! Anonymous


I currently see and love Dr. Cooksey. I have also seen Dr. Deraleau a couple of times and liked her very much though I can't speak to her skills in reference to what you need done. Anon

Seeking kaiser oakland obgyn

June 2013

Can someone recommend a Kaiser Oakland OBGYN doctor? anonymous


I have been seeing Dr. Cooksey for 2 years now, through a miscarriage and current pregnancy, and I love her. She answers questions fully and doesn't rush through appts, and is incredibly responsive over email (for instance, she answered an email I sent the same day though I had received an email response that she'd be out of the office for another 4 days). Also, I just genuinely like her personally. She's just kind and down-to-earth. I've heard from the nursing staff that she is their favorite as well, because she really treats them as equals, unlike many of the other MDs. Big fan
I've been seeing Dr. Christie Cooksey for a few years now, and she is really fantastic. She was my doctor through my first pregnancy and delivered my son during an intense and somewhat problematic delivery. Other than being a truly competent and nurturing OB, she is also a great GYN -- she is confident and matter-of-fact, but always remembers me and is never too rushed to take the time to thoroughly answer questions. Another thing to note: I've sent her many emails over the past few years, about various things of varying importance, and she always gets back to me quickly, which I truly appreciate. I highly recommend her! lea

Can you recommend (or not!) your Kaiser OB/GYN?

March 2013

Hi, I am new to Kaiser and newly pregnant with #2. Can you recommend your Kaiser Oakland OB/GYN? It would also be helpful to know if there is anyone strongly recommended against. Thanks in advance! Anon


I highly recommend dr. Renee perry at the Oakland kaiser. She is incredibly friendly, was very supportive of our decision to have a home birth, and always makes me feel like she has time for me- never rushes through appointments. From the first time I met her, I felt comfortable; almost like having a good friend as my doctor. Can't recommend her highly enough. Love my OB
I love Lisa Sherman - she is smart, funny, no-nonsense and straightforward. Shepherded me through a high risk pregnancy at 38 and is now helping me navigate hormonal changes in my 40's. Dr. Sherman fan
I've seen two ob/gyns at Kaiser Oakland. Barbara Jung was nice but our personalities didn't match. I also saw Janie Hirata and would not recommend her. I found her style completely alarmist and her communication style just didn't work for me. I pushed Dr. Jung to get a specialist, but she pushed back and said no. I saw Caryn Rybczynski for a D&C after a miscarriage and really, really liked her. But she was full and not taking new patients. If she was taking new patients I would have gone with her. Instead I ended up going to Kaiser Redwood City and have been thrilled with my care there. I've heard great things about Kaiser Walnut Creek too. disappointed
I really loved Nurse Practitioner Ann O'Connor at Oakland Kaiser. She always listened to me, and took all of my comments, complaints, weird side effects, etc. seriously. Great bedside manner, and great care. I don't see her any more because my family switched to Hayward Kaiser, but I miss her! (I also saw NP Elaine Stavely once, in an urgent care situation, and she was also great. I don't think you can go wrong with either of them.) Happy with Kaiser
I can HIGHLY recommend Dr. Caryn Rybczynski. She has seen me through two challenging pregnancies. She is an AMAZING OB, always taking the time to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you have. She is a very understanding and very helpful. I cannot say enough great things about her. All of my other doctors are in Pinole, but she is the only reason I still go to Kaiser Oakland. If you want a great, thorough, and understanding OB, go see her. You will not be disappointed! Melany
I really like Laura Minikel at Kaiser. She's got a great bedside manner and is really supportive. anon
I've had a lot of OB/GYNs at Kaiser Oakland. My first one was a resident who ended up going somewhere else. Caryn Rybczynski was my second one. We didn't get along all that well, but I was just going in for pap smears, so I didn't make a big deal out of it. I asked my husband to go with me one time to see if she were just catty with me or if it was my fault, and she was fine when he was around. Then we got pregnant. Oh my gosh, we were pregnant! That's never happened before!! I made an appt. with her immediately, and she chided us for not going to her website and following her instructions to go to the lab and have tests done before taking ''time that I could be seeing patients who actually need to see a doctor''!! She said I was ''barely pregnant'', and I should NOT have made an appt. with her!! So we switched to Gina Foster, who was amazing, but she's part time in Oakland, and she went out on maternity leave too. She recommended her doctor, Neeru Gupta, who has been lovely. She's younger, so I don't know about her experience as compared w/ Dr. Rybczynski, but she's super supportive and has been wonderful for us. Also, I think it's worth noting that she is the OB for another KP doctor, and she chose Dr. Gupta to perform her C- section. Liz
My experience with Caryn Rybczynski last year was the opposite of the previous posters. My husband and I were shocked by how rude and unhelpful she was. For example, the first thing she said to me was, ''I don't understand why you're here.'' I explained that I was a new patient there for a routine prenatal exam and that I had been monitored by a high risk doctor up until that point, which was the end of my second trimester. She didn't say anything like ''Nice to meet you.'' She then told me that I should not gain anymore weight for the rest of my pregnancy, despite the fact that I was well within the recommended weight guidelines and had never been close to overweight in my life. When I told her I thought I was eating a healthy diet, she cut me off and said she didn't want to discuss my diet. What was the point in telling me I had gained too much weight if she wasn't recommending any course of action? It went on and on like that, with her making pronouncements that contradicted what my previous doctor's advice (who is the assistant chief of the obstetrics department) and cutting me off when I tried to ask questions. It was by far the most unpleasant interaction I've ever had with a doctor. Laura
I love Dr. Barbara Jung in Oakland. I've been seeing her for about 10 years, through 2 pregnancies and a miscarriage. She is always running late, but when I had the miscarriage I realized that's because if you need her, she will do what you need her to do with a warm and caring manner. Her panel is never open, but if by chance you catch her, it's your lucky day. KP mama

Kaiser OB or CNM for twins?

Sept 2012

I just found out that baby #2 is actually babies #2 and #3-- twins! I had my first baby at Alta Bates with a midwife from East Bay Perinatal and had a great experience all around, but I'm with Kaiser now, so all the options are different. I've been seeing an OB for prenatal care at Oakland, although she's planning to send me to perinatology now that she knows it's twins, since twins are apparently ''high risk'' by definition. Has anyone had any recent experiences with delivering twins at either Oakland or Walnut Creek? Any recommendations for an OB or CNM at either place who is supportive of a natural birth for twins? (or any advice on specific doctors to avoid?) I'd appreciate any and all advice! expecting twins


I haven't had twins, but have seen both perinatologists at Kaiser Oakland and the one at Kaiser Walnut Creek. Dr. Walton in Oakland has followed me for two pregnancies and is fantastic. I wasn't as big a fan of Dr. Newman (Oakland) or Dr. Maier (Walnut Creek). anon

Seeking phenomenal Kaiser GP and specialists!

Dec 2011

After years of sitting on the fence, I've switched from HealthNet to Kaiser. My reluctance stemmed from the fact that -- through years of trial and error -- I had found a primary care physician and team of specialists who I trusted and who took great care of me. My hope is that it won't take years at Kaiser before I feel I'm receiving the same level of care. Please tell me about doctors in Kaiser who you feel are exceptional. I have a science background and prefer doctors who treat me as an intellectual equal and who are willing/able to talk about the science behind the medicine. Caring/compassionate bedside manner is, of course, also preferred. I'm particularly looking for: 1) a female family doctor/general practitioner 2) a female OB-GYN 3) a pediatrician 4) endocrinologist for treatment of Hashimoto's thyroiditis -- I'm on combination therapy (levoxyl and levothrionine) and would like to maintain this 5) orthopedic surgeon (for knee surgery that I have long delayed but need to take care of) Thanks for recommendations. anon


I've been very happy with both my Kaiser OB, Erica Breneman, and my GP, Tali Ziv (both at Oakland) and would highly recommend both. I like them both for the same reasons---they respect me and take any concerns I have seriously, and are always very direct/honest (including when they don't know what's causing a symptom or problem), which I appreciate. They're also both very responsive if I call or email with questions (sometimes even responding late at night or over the weekends). In general, I think you need to be proactive at Kaiser to find doctors you like (and happily, there are lots of great ones out there!) You can switch online, which makes it pretty easy---if you don't like a doctor, don't be shy about choosing a new one. Also, the Kaiser online system will often show doctors as not having open panels. Your options are either to wait and try again (often they seem to have openings at the beginning of each month) or to contact the doctor directly if there's a reason you'd like to see her (specific expertise, etc.) because some doctors will add you even when they aren't officially open to new patients. So don't stress if you pick out a few doctors you'd like to see and then the system says you can't see them. We've been really happy with Kaiser, and also switched somewhat begrudgingly since we were happy with the various doctors we saw with Healthnet. I have come to greatly appreciate Kaiser's streamlined care---I love that my doctors talk to one another and email each other when there's something the other should know, and having testing and other procedures all under one roof has been wonderful. Happy Kaiser patient
March 2011

Hi, my great gynecologist at Kaiser Oakland has moved on, and I'm looking for a recommendation for a new gynecologist. I'm NOT needing OB services, and notice that all the recommendations on BPN are all about pregnancy and birthing. On the KP website, the doctor's mostly rave about how much they LOVE seeing younger patients. Does anyone have a recommendation for a great gynecologist for those of us nearing menopause? I'd travel to Walnut Creek if it was worth it. Many Thanks!


I have been very happy with my Kaiser gynocologist, Judith Lamberti, at the Oakland Medical Center. She's been great for my peri-menopause, and now menopausal, needs. Anon
I don't know if she is taking new patients, but Janet Wiese at Oakland Kaiser is a terrific gynecologist. She's thorough, knowledgeable, and warm and friendly. She takes her time too. I'm past menopause, so OB is not an issue. I trust her judgement and highly recommend her. happy with my doctor
Erica Brenemen is a wonderful doctor @Oakland Kaiser. I have seen her for several years, just had routine care, but she is great about answering any all questions. Last year, during a routine pap exam she found some fibroids which turned out to be very early stage endromedial cancer. First, she gave me an appointment within 2 days of the diagnosis. She said she never gives this kind of news over the phone. When I saw her, she had already set up a presurgery exam w/one of the most respected gyn surgeons in the whole East Bay Kaiser system. She also had 15 pages of info re. the specific type of cancer, and another 15 pages or so of treatment scenarios, as well as a list of depts. w/phone nos. where I would need to schedule exams, blood tests, etc. I'm in my late 70's so there were some issues. In one day, thanks to her careful preparation, I had made every single appointment that I needed. It was very smooth; surgery went very well; didn't need chemo or radiation, & walked a mile in the hospital the day after my surgery (in 2 installments for a day or so; then in 1 installment) If she has room on her panel, I feel sure that you will find her equally helpful & thorough. Happy Grandmother. lila
Feb 2010

Re: Kaiser OB who supports home birth?

I am early in my 3rd pregnancy and am most likely planning a home birth. Some of the BPN archives seem to say that an OB can ''drop'' you from their care if they know that you are getting concurrent (private paid) care from a midwife in preparation for home birth. I had planned to use Kaiser to get all of my labs and bloodwork and testing done since it would all be covered under my insurance, but I am worried my OB will refuse to write the orders for such things if she knows I am planning a home birth. Somehow this seems illegal to me in some way. If I'm covered by Kaiser insurance, don't they have to allow me to use my insurance for costs that are allowed under my plan, regardless of where I choose to deliver this baby? -Wish Kaiser covered home birth


Both Erica Breneman and Ann Eastman have been supportive of women planning homebirths. I planned homebirths for both of my children and received excellent concurrent care with Erica. I had all my labs, my amniocentesis, genetic counseling, and some other high risk follow-up done at Kaiser. My first son was born at home, and my second son ended up being born prematurely via cesarean birth (for breech positioning) at the hospital. In both cases, I received great care. A friend used Ann Eastman similarly and had a wonderful experience. Best of luck to you and your baby!
The nice thing about Kaiser as opposed to some other PPO, HMO plans is they will not drop you if they find out you're planning a homebirth. They will give you concurrent care. That doesn't mean the OB will necessarily make you feel supported. I am in my second pregnancy and have had one homebirth, planning another, and get concurrent Kaiser care. My OB has been amazing and supportive, rooted me on the whole way, and provided valuable additional care to my homebirth midwife. She has also ordered all my labs. Her name is Renee Perry and she's at Oakland Kaiser. I highly recommend her. I have heard that not all the OB's there are supportive. Gook luck! Local
Hi There, just wanted to let you know that not everyone at Kaiser is against homebirth. I switched to Kaiser from United Healthcare just before I found out I was pregnant. I am so glad I did though. I received the best care I could have wished for by my OB and pretty much all the staff that I encountered. I was expecting to have either a homebirth or a waterbirth at Sage Femme (SF). I had totally disclosed this information to my OB and she was totally supportive of that, she even told me about her experiences of attending a couple of homebirths herself. I definitely lucked out with her. I did not end up having a home or water birth because I had placenta previa and but I am very lucky to have had the great care at Kaiser that I did. I received my prenatal checkups and care at Kaiser Oakland with Dr. Wiese and would totally recommend her. Perhaps you would want to check out Kaiser in Walnut Creek's Midwife program if Oakland is too far away from you. Claudia
i too planned a homebirth and have kaiser insurance. i must say i was quite impressed with them, they were totally ok with doing parallel care for labs, etc. pretty much whatever i wanted to do. my doctor is carla wicks (who is on maternity leave) but i think most will do the same. congrats! homebirth mama

2005 - 2009 Reviews


Sept 2009

I have just changed my insurance to kaiser, a need a ob&gyn and a regular physician.any recomendation please.


My OB/GYN at (Oakland) Kaiser is Joanne Gras & I really like her. She's down-to-earth, apys attention, seems to really know her stuff & is also flexible (didn't bat an eye when I told her we were planning a home birth, and Kaiser was just our back-up plan -and- just congratulated me & supported me when we ended up having our son at Kaiser after 20 hours of home labor) Kendra
I highly, highly recommend Dr. Weiss for your OB/GYN. I started seeing her when I was pregnant last year (so I have seen her MANY times). Before I found her, I had had a few negative experiences and I she was just what I wanted in a doctor. She has a positive and warm manner, presents information in an organized and clear way, and always treats me like an individual (something that doesn't always happen at Kaiser): she remembers details about me, takes my questions seriously, and make time to talk to me. There was a point in my pregnancy when she had some concerns and I felt that she acted quickly, took it seriously and followed up but remained calm and didn't scare me. She is very quick to return emails through their system. I also really like her medical assistant. When I saw her at the end of the day she was often running late, but I've found that to be true with most doctors. Laura
March 2009

My wife is new to Kaiser and we are newly pregnant (Yay!). We did some homework (mostly here) and had a list of doctors we had hoped to request. None were accepting new patients and so, in the end, we were assigned Joann Gras, a doctor whom I can dig up no info on. Does anyone here have any experience with her? Dan


I know this isn't the advice you asked for but I'd like to recommend Dr. Lishiana Shaffer. I delivered a baby boy 4 1/2 months ago and saw Dr. Shaffer through my whole pregnancy and honestly think she was fabulous, i looked forward to seeing her every month. Lily
Dec 2008

I am thinking of changing my OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland, and wonder if anyone has had any experience with Dr. Dawn Ogawa? She's one of the few female docs available right now. Thanks.


I worked with Dr. Ogawa when she was a resident at UCSF. She's wonderful: clinically excellent, and very down to earth. Stephanie
I delivered at UCSF, and as you may know in a setting like that, you really don't know who is going to deliver your child. We loved all the drs at UCSF and had great experience... Anyway, Dr. Ogawa delivered my son in a pretty intense, high-pressure situation. I had a high-risk pregnancy and was induced - then, they had to use forceps because our son was going into distress. While I didn't know her well before the delivery, we were really impressed with her, especially given the intense situation. anon
Dec 2008

Hello, My wife is looking for a new ob/gyn at the oakland kaiser facility. She doesn't like the one she got randomly assigned to (nothing bad or unprofessional; they just don't click personality wise). She's mostly just looking for someone compassionate and willing to take the time to explain things to her; age/sex/race not important. Anyone have a kaiser OB/GYN they like? Ben


If Ann Eastman is taking new patients, she has a wonderful manner and unbeatable care - always makes you feel that seeing you is the best part of her day, and her care is fantastic too. af
I love Dr. Minikel. I had her through my pregnancy and she delivered my daugher (it was a fluke that she was on rotation at Alta Bates that week; this was before Kaiser finished their maternity ward). She is very nice, very empathetic. I came to one of my appointments in tears after the nurse told me it was time for my first routine mammogram (there was more going on; it was the straw that broke the camel's back) and she was great. Kaiser patient
I see NP Rebecca Avery at Kaiser Oakland. She is wonderful and saw me through my second pregnancy. Call to see if she has openings for new patients. She is easy to talk to and easy to relate to. Good luck anonymous
I love my Oakland Kaiser OB. I do know that not all are taking new patients and you need to check who's available for that. But.... my doc is Erica Breneman and she is fabulous. I have seen and had very good experiences with Dr. Barbara Jung and Dr. Caryn Rybczynski. I have also seen Dr. Bullick, Dr. Kim and Dr. Guerra. They were ranging from great to fine, but no ''warm fuzzies'' there. Usually at Kaiser, one ends up seeing a nurse practitioner. I have really like seeing Nurse Balian and a nurse named Colette (I only remember the Colette part and not the whole name). Good luck!
I highly recommend Dr. Renee Perry if she is still accepting new patients. She's wonderful and warm and seems quite knowledgable. Found her after going through several other practitioners while pregnant, which was NOT fun. Dr. Perry's great! Good luck. anon
Hi - I have Eve Zaritsky, OBGYN at Kaiser Oakland and love her I had an amazing delivery for my second induced VBAC 4 hours of pushing.. the team there was absolutly in favor or helping me achieve my goal of a VBAC through all prenatal and delivery care. Roz
Nov 2008

Re: new to Kaiser, Ob/Gyn

I really like my OB, Dr. Renee Perry. I had a horrible time while pregnant until I finally found her. If she's still accepting new patients, she's great. Very sweet bedside manner and very knowledgeable.


In OB/GYN the Nurse Practioners are better than the docs. Elaine Stavely is a straight shooter but excellent. Happy and healthy at Kaiser since 1975
Oct 2008

I recently moved to Berkeley from the city and need to choose a OB who excels at cesarean delivery. Our insurance plan is under Kaiser. My first baby was delivered by elective c-section, and I have no interest in VBAC. I'm interested in finding a doctor who has a good track record delivering babies via c-section. Any recommendations, anecdotes would be highly appreciated. THANKS!


I delivered my twins at Oakland Kaiser via c-section. My ObGyn, Dr. Brenamen is fantastic. I don't know if she's accepting new patients though. She does work a week every couple of months in labor and delivery but at Kaiser you get whoever is on duty when your c-section is scheduled. You don't get to choose. I had a wonderful experience with my c-section. Because of the twins, I had a double team and everyone was great. Just go with the flow; you will be in competent hands. anon
May 2008

Re: Kaiser GYN?
Highly recommend Erika Brenaman, in Oakland, very happy with my surgery two years ago, follow ups, years before going through surgery helped me to understand my situation and make a decision, can not be happier. Change my life forever in a positive way and I owe it to her. Good Luck very happy person


Ob/Gyn Reviews from 2007

Nov 2007

Re: Kaiser OB GYN Recommendations
I really like Dr. Erica Breneman (sp?). I've been going to her for almost three years. She is kind (I had two miscarriages), thorough, and does not rush. Hannah


Oct 2007

Re: Kaiser PCP, OBGYN & Ped. recommendations
Laura Minikel is the best OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland. She is personable, skilled and current in her medical knowledge. The only drawback is that the word about her is out, so she is always booked up. She cared for me during GYN illness, infertility and two pregnancies. I highly recommend her if she is taking new patients. Satisfied customer


Oct 2007

Can anyone recommend an OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland who is supportive of VBACs? I am new to Kaiser, and although currently not pregnant, I'd like to choose a Doctor I can stick with once the time comes. I had a planned C-section with my first child because she was breech, which was the hospital's policy. I'd like to try a VBAC next time and avoid the long recovery from a C-section. Thanks for your help! Joanna


Your assigned Gyn is not the doctor you will see for Ob care at kaiser. If you are having a normal, no risk pregnancy then you will have appointments monthly with any one of the OBs or NPs on the rotation in the maternity offices. If you have a highrisk pregnancy then you will see an OB not an NP. Sometimes, near the beginning of the pregnancy you can get the appointment with the same doctor for several appointments in a row, but usually that doesn't work out once the appointments get closer together... nor is it highly recommended. When you are in labor at Kaiser you see whoever is on duty at the time, so there is ''no point'' in having a personal relationship with anyone doctor. However, if you are familiar with several of them from visits... or even just accustomed to seeing a different one each time the lack of previous history with whoever it is on duty comes in handy. I know this sounds horrible to those who have private practice experience, but honestly it was no big ! deal for me.

As far as VBAC friendly goes, I've never met anyone who was antiVBAC at Kaiser. I was given the option with my second to go either way although the Ob wasn't sure that it was a great idea considering the complications from the first c-section. I ended up choosing a second c-section and was actually chastised by an NP at one of the prenatal visits because she thought that was ridiculous. Hope that helps


April 2007

Can you recommend a Gyn. Oncologist with Kaiser? (Oakland, SF, Walnut Creek, other Bay Area location okay too.) I'm BRCA1+ and faced with needing to get my ovaries removed as a cancer prevention measure. I have many issues to decide on still, want some different opinions. So far I'm assigned to Dr. Ciaravino in Oakland. Any info. would be helpful. I'm also looking to meet other women who have had to deal with BRCA+ issues too. If you or anyone you know is dealing with this, maybe we could share info and support. Thank you. maxine


Dr. Erica Breneman is a wonderful ob/gyn located at the Oakland Kaiser facility. I have seen her for the past 5 years and have found her to have a warm and friendly bedside manner, as well as strong medical expertise. She is one of the few doctors I've had who actually listens and takes your questions and concerns seriously. I can't recommend her more highly. The only caveat is that she may be hard to get assigned to. Best of luck. Brightstar
Jan 2007

Does anyone have any experience with the following OB/GYNs at Kaiser Oakland? Eve Zaritsky, Renee Perry, Ivy Yu, Bindoo Rellan. They are the only ones who currently have open panels. Any comments appreciated. Thanks. Cynthia


Bindo Rellan is the name on my birth control prescriptions but I really see Nurse Practitioner Rebecca Avery and I like her. Down to earth and friendly. There are lots of NPs who might be easier to see than an actual OB/GYN. See previous recommendations on the website for some other names. anon
Hi there, My comment about Bindoo Rellan doesn't seem to have made it onto the archives yet. I had a terrible experience with her at a regular yearly pap appt. She was aloof about my questions then saying ''let's discuss this while we do your exam''. Also, I had noted that I wanted to discuss pregnancy because I was thinking about becoming pregnant in the next year. She asked me what question I had (as though I must have a specific concern) and didn't ask me any questions at all. I felt as though she thought it was a dumb thing to want to discuss with your doctor!! Am currently pregnant and with NP Arnoux. Not 100% sure of her, but don't know who else to try. Hope to also see reviews of Eve Zaritzky and the others! Pregnant & Searching at Kaiser Oakland
I had a very similar experience with Bindoo Rellen at Oakland Kaiser as another poster. She was uncommunicative and became callous and clearly annoyed when I tried to ask questions. This was after having an abnormal papsmear result and follow-up colposcopy. In fact I cried after talking with her, which is not a typical reaction for me.

I have been seeing Dr. Jaime Barraza since then who I have found acceptable... he is much kinder and responsive by comparison. However, I have had OB/GYN's in the past that I felt more compatible with.

Someone also mentioned NP Rebecca Avery, and my experience with her was good. Anon


Feb 2007

Can anyone recommend an open, natural-birth supporting, female primary care physician, OB/GYN, or nurse at Kaiser Oakland? I have been told that having a good one at Kaiser makes all the difference. Thanks in advance for your advice! New and Bewildered Kaiser Patient


Cheryl Brown has been my OB/GYN nurse practitioner for years. I have been very happy with her. She has referred me to M.D.s when necessary but otherwise is the health care provider I see regularly in the OB/GYN department. She is open minded, progressive and easy to talk to. Kaiser Oakland patient
Hi - I love Kaiser. Through my pregnancy I saw a OB/GYN specialist Nurse Practitioner named Cheryl Brown (RN) and I continue to see her now as my primary care GYN. B/C my age I was considered a high risk pregnancy (at 30-40), but was very healthy and had an easy pregnancy in general. I really like Cheryl, she is easy going, very experienced, matter of fact, easy to talk to. I did not have any special issues or preconceptions about how my pregnancy should be- neither idealistic or fearful. I worked with her on writing a birth plan, she was open to my desires and had good advice about writing it (KEEP IT FLEXIBLE!)

My experience at Kaiser is that they are cautious and have some pretty rigid protocols in place that they follow. This includes advice and hands on treatment. It might be that there is something in your medical history that calls for a sonogram... or it might be the earlier in the pregnancy a ''picture'' is taken of the fetus the more accurate they can be at estimating how far along you are and when your due date is. I found out I was nearly 12 weeks pregnant... not the 7 weeks I thought... after my first sonogram. Big difference!

To address your concerns about delivering at Kaiser-Oakland. I had a great experience there, considering how long my labor was (35 hours start to end). The docs are residents, so you get who you get, but the heavy lifting is done by the delivery nurses. I had a very experienced doula - Linda Jones Mixon, who I highly recommend!) My nurses were both trained as nurse- midwives, and also advocated for me with the resident doctors. However, the docs were the final arbiters and presented me with the hard choices (when to start pictocin, if I should get an epidural or use other pain meds, etc) The nurses (and the docs to a lesser degree) fully supported my desire for natural childbirth, but were pretty straightforward with their advice about when they thought I was getting tired and with explaining my options. I ended up getting pitocin, and using a single (but blessedly powerful) dose of an opiate derivative pain killer... it let me ''zone out'' from the pain for a while and get needed rest, but let me get back on my feet to labor while standing upright...I am convinced this was key to avoiding a c-section. Again, the nurses were totally awesome through this. The attending physician delivered my daughter. The residents watched and stitched me up. They were all women, and the ''repaired and rebuilt'' me to Lindsey Wager standards....better stronger...hehehe...you get the idea.

My experience on the ''new mama and baby'' at Kaiser-Oakland was also really good. My follow-up appointments with Cheryl Brown have been good too. She remembers who I am, I've had continuity of care, she is really great. IN many respects, Kaiser of Oakland is the ''pick of the best'' Kaiser has to offer... in the opinion of a friend of mine who is a Kiser OBGYN in a nameless city in a more easterly area of California.

Hope that answers your questions. Oh BTW-- I do have a GP rec as well: I see an Internist/GP for other general medicine issues, who I started seeing while pregnant: his name is Dr. Arthur Bakel, He's also really good. anon


Ob/Gyn Reviews from 2006

August 2006

I've checked the listings and there are some good recommendations but some of the staff are new and some (like Dr Tucker) aren't doing deliveries these days. Current recommendations are welcomed and highly appreciated. I most likely will have to have a c-section, have placenta previa, baby is breech at the moment, am an older mom and had a previous miscarriage. I am in my 6th month and am just transferring to Walnut Creek since I will be closer there when on maternity leave. Thank you!!!!!!! anon


Dr. James Sakamoto (Oakland Kaiser) is WONDERFUL! He was in private practice for years in Berkeley, but just last year joined Kaiser. Gentle bedside manner, extremely skilled, remarkably attentive (he called me at my home twice during a treatment period, once on New Year's Day to see how I was doing). I have two very good friends who had both their children delivered by Dr. Sakamoto; they practically worship him. He's lovely Linda
June 2006

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good Kaiser Oakland OB/Gyn? Kim


I absolutely LOVE my Kaiser OB Ė Laura Lynn Minikel, MD. I canít recommend her enough. She is so easy to talk to and very knowledgeable. My husband and I both adore her. She helped me through my first pregnancy with ease. Another OB that I have been to in the past and my mom goes to is Lisa Gayle Sherman, MD. She is really great as well. Go to the Kaiser Website http://www.kaiserpermanente.org/ check out the Medical Staff Directory/OBGYN/Oakland Kaiser and you can see pics and bios of all of the docs MS
Hi, This is a response to both the request for a Kaiser Oakland Ob and a high risk Ob.

I had a high risk pregnancy. I'm 40 with a cervical abnormality from DES exposure and developed gestational diabetes, preterm labor, and depression. Dr. Ruth Olweny at Kaiser Oakland was wonderful. She is in the last year of her residency there. As of May 2006, she was accepting new patients. I started having post-partum depression, while still pregnant, due to the stress of the physical complications. She coordinated with my psychiatrist and managed my physical problems so I that I was able to carry to full term. During labor, my son went into fetal distress from his cord compressing, and we had to have an emergency c-section. She got him out in 2 minutes flat. He's perfectly normal now and worth everything I went through.

I'm not the easiest patient in the world, but she handled me and my conditions in an extremely reassuring manner. I would highly recommend her. I have selected her as my primary Ob/Gyn at Kaiser from now on anonymous


I like Rebecca Avery, Nurse Practitioner. She is very nice and normal. I have seen her for several years for my annual appointments and for my prenatal care. (I am sure you know that when you actually deliver a baby at Kaiser you get whoever is on duty.) Happy with Rebecca
I really liked Laura Minikel MD

Ob/Gyn Reviews from 2005 and earlier

Oct 2005

Any recommendations or advise/experience would be highly appreciated. I recently had a miscarriage 10 weeks and D & C (am still trying to cope with it) and wondered if anyone had a similar experience and was seeing Dr Bullick and how his care/expertise was concerning this issue.


Dr. Bullick was not my treating OB during my pregnancy (I saw perinatalogist Dr. Walton because I was pregnant with twins) but he was the attending physician on duty when I was hospitalized with preeclampsia. He performed my C-section the next day and has done my follow-up care. My initial impression was that he was a bit stiff, but through repeated interactions (minor complications post-delivery and 2 annual gyn visits) I've found him to be warm and caring (and to actually have a sense of humor, despite my initial impression). I would recommend him. happy Kaiser patient
July 2005

I was diagnosded today by a Obgyn doctor at Kaiser having very big Fibroides and she recommended Hystrectomy. I was disgusted by her lack of sensitiveness and didn't care about how I feel. Her attitude toward Hysterectomy was she likes it because is clean and short. She thinks Hysterectomy is better choice than just removing Fibroides since 25% of it comes back. I am looking for a better doctor in Kaiser who I can trust and be able to engage, who has experiences in treating fibroides without Hysteroctomy. Please let me know if anyone knows a good doctor. Tae


I have been seeing Laura Minikel, M.D. at Kaiser Oakland and have found her to be very competent, personable and sensitive. Her profile on her Kaiser website (http://www.permanente.net/doctor/lauralminikel/) states, ''I also am particularly interested in fibroid management and treatment, specifically Uterine Artery Embolization.'' So, she might be great to see for a second opinion. Chris
I suppose you're looking for a western obgyn, but just to let you know, Chinese Medicine has very good results with fibroids. In Berkeley, I suggest Nancy Rakela, OMD. 510.526.6029 www.nancyrakela.com Best, student of Chinese Medicine
July 2005

I just found out that I am pregnant and my company recently switched to Kaiser. I've been assigned to NP, Dela Riva in Oakland. Anyone have any experience with her? I'm totally new to the system and have read the postings which make me a bit nervous. I've been having sleepless nights wondering if all is going to be ok, because my mom had a bad experience at Kaiser Oakland (burst appendix in the hospital and incorrect diagnosis beforehand). Any further advice and recent recommendations would be highly appreciated. Is it normal to have an appt scheduled a month after calling? I am 44 yrs old and had a c- section at Alta Bates for my first baby. Anon


I work at Kaiser - Regional offices, and not more than 15 minutes ago, had a conversation with an employee that sees NP De La Riva and she loves her. I work with her indirectly but see another NP at Kaiser Oakland. Anyway, my coworker says she won't see anyone else, she says NP de la Riva is very competent and very personable and you will have a great experience with her. Hope this helps. Lena
I had two appointments with Gabriela Dela Riva at the end of my pregnancy, when my regular NP was out of town. I liked her a lot: straight-talking, but also thoughtful. Almost considered switching, but didn't bother in the end.

If you want to see another Kaiser NP, though, just ask and they'll schedule you. Ditto, I think, if you have a specific reason for being seen earlier.

Kaiser can look more off-putting to outsiders than it is in practice. Depends on how you think about pregnancy and delivery. Any moment I needed things checked out, a test was scheduled quickly. I went through moments of feeling deprived about not having ''my'' doctor in the delivery room. But in the end, it didn't matter as much as I was building it up to. Nota bene, we had a doula (who did tell us Kaiser is one reason the Bay Area is the doula capital of America). Cathy


I had twins at Kaiser Oakland in March and my first appointment was with Nurse Dela Riva. Overall, my pregnancy and delivery at Kaiser was great. You are welcome to email me if you'd like to know more about my experience with Nurse Dela Riva and Kaiser Oakland. :) Kathryn
Gabriela Dela Riva was my main OB/GYN provider in Kaiser for many years. I found her very thoughtful, sensitive and considerate. I even talked at length with her about my fears of childbirth before I decided to get pregnant and she was very helpful. She has always been great at explaining things which was important to me and has been very prompt at returning my phone calls. I would definitely recommend her.

I think the key to working well within Kaiser is being proactive and being sure to ask questions and follow up on things if you have concerns. If you are willing to take this kind of initiative, the care is excellent. I lost my first pregnancy at 18 weeks and I cannot think of anything Kaiser or my doctors could have done to take better care of me. I'm now 8 months pregnant with my second and again, I have been very impressed and plan to give birth at Kaiser Oakland. Good luck with your pregnancy and remember, if for some reason Gabriella DelaRiva isn't a good fit for you, you can request a change, but I personally think you will be in very good hands. - Happy Kaiser Member


Gabriella is my nurse practioner and has been for a while. I have seen her for many years for my annual exams and saw her during my pregnancy (My daughter was born in Sept. 2004). She's awesome. She was very helpful in answering any questions/concerns that came up for me. As far as scheduling appts., my first one was far out but after that you schedule them before you leave and I found it wasn't too difficult to get what I wanted. I had a fine experience at Kaiser. I found their birthing class to be helpful and most of the staff at the hospital was helpful. My baby was born right after they opened started doing deliveries again, so there were a few communication type glitches to work out, but that was almost a year ago. And it was nothing that I felt took away from the quality of the service I received. Feel free eto contact me if you have other questions. Rebecca
I recently delivered my first baby at Kaiser Oakland and had a wonderful experience starting with great prenatal care, excellent prenatal classes and the care and people during my labor and postpartum was wonderful. For prenatal care, I saw Rebecca Avery, NP and Lenore Arnoux, both are very personable and I looked forward to seeing them each month for my check-ups.

The labor and delivery ward at Kaiser Oakland is brand new having brought back these services from Alta Bates and the staff is wonderful. The two labor nurses I had were incredible beyond words to both my husband and me. I had about 20 hours of labor, before a c-section was needed (baby was too big), I felt so taken care of every step of the way, including my 3 days postpartum. I would try the NP you were assigned to and you can change later if you want. tamita


You need to be assertive with Kaiser -- if you think you need to see a practictioner sooner, call for a same day appointment. If you feel like you have a high-risk pregnancy because of your age, talk to the advise nurse. If you have concerns (i.e. blood pressure, gestational diabetes, another c-section) let them know. Once you get in there and see a physician/nurse they are fairly responsive. anon
I just read several really nice reviews of Gabriela de la Riva which are making me wonder if maybe I just saw her on her bad days. She was my NP at the beginning of my pregnancy.

The first couple appointments were fine, but as I got bigger and had more questions, her patience with me seemed to run out. I should say that I was very well informed (reading about pregnancy all the time) and very healthy. At one appointment, the first in my second trimester, she was concerned with my weight gain which was totally normal for the 4th month. I had spent the first three months constantly nauseous and unable to eat at all - of course I was going to gain more than I had in the previous months if I could suddenly eat again! Since she could find nothing unhealthy in my diet, she told me to ''lay off the juice,'' of which I drank one glass each morning as I desperately craved OJ. I found that advice terribly offensive because it meant that not only was she unfamiliar with how well I'd been treating my body (despite my reporting it to her), she was also telling me to ignore my natural craving for healthy food. It also kind of felt like she thought I was being dishonest about my diet, which I find insulting. She told another friend of mine the same thing under the same circumstances. At our next appointment she flat out told me that she couldn't ''answer any more of my questions because our ten minutes was up'' as she walked out of the room.

I can understand frustration on a practioner's part under the Kaiser system which does not allow for much one on one time with patients. I cannot understand a practioner's failure to be more tactful. I was in customer service for years. I am very sensitive to pushiness on the part of a person receiving service; and I can honestly say that I was not asking silly questions or demanding too much attention. Even if I had been, wouldn't that have been my right as a paying Kaiser patient who was pregnant for the first time?

Overall, de la Riva seemed totally insensitive to the kind of pregnancy I hoped to have (natural, informed) and too busy for anything resembling personal attention. Gabriela de la Riva might be ok for a pap smear, but I would never choose for her to be my NP during a pregnancy.

I switched to Lenore Arnoux, NP at Kaiser Oakland. I found her totally personable with a wonderful bedside manner. She was reassuring, responsive and sensitive to my wishes and she always knew who I was! anonymous


I had Gabriela Dela Riva as my NP during my entire pregnancy at Kaiser Oakland and wasn't at all happy with her care. In the beginning she seemed fine, but by the end of the pregnancy I had serious doubts. At every visit she always measured my fundus as ''on target'' and said everything was fine. However, at my 36 week visit, which was with one of the Kaiser OBs because my blood pressure was high, the doctor measured me and immediately said ''This baby is way too small, you're measuring 4 weeks behind.'' He did an ultrasound and confirmed the estimated fetal weight at 4 lbs. My blood pressure continued to be high over the next couple of weeks, and at 38 weeks I was induced because the baby still wasn't growing and it was feared she was in immediate danger.

She was born at 4 lbs 2 oz, just as the OB predicted, and I never had anyone at Kaiser give me an explanation for the discrepancy between Dela Riva's ''normal'' measurements and the OB's immediate assessment that something was wrong. In addition, when I saw my chart, I realized that my blood pressure had been intermittently abnormal starting at my 10 week visit - I was never told this.

I consider myself lucky that I was okay and that my baby was healthy, after a NICU stay. Kaiser's perinatologists were very frank about what could have gone wrong for both of us, but as I said, never had an explanation for the fact that their NP did not diagnose either pregnancy induced hypertension or an IUGR baby.

I know the Kaiser NPs are under significant time pressures when seeing patients, but I don't think that excuses what happened to me. Signed, Lucky Mama


I saw Gabriela Dela Riva once and was very upset afterwards. During my appointment, I requested that I be tested for STDs. Without having an understanding the circumstances surrounding this request, she proceeded to criticize me for what she perceived to be my irresponsible behavior - and for endangering the welfare of my unborn child!

This was not what I was hoping for from a health care professional. I was so taken aback that I didn't have the presence of mind to refute her assumptions, and her manner was such that I did not feel comfortable discussing the matter further. She did end up performing the test, but let me know that my appointment was only supposed to be 10 minutes long, and that I was taking up too much of her time. (I had only enquired about the test - I hadn't demanded she do it then and there!) By the end of the appointment, I felt just awful. I have not been back to see her since.

However, I DID see Lenore Arnoux, whom I found to be warm, competent, and kind. Good luck!

Alameda Mama


June 2005

Does anyone have experience with Dr. Barbara Jung, OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland? She's sounds great on paper! need new doctor


I have heard great things about her, too. In fact, she was recommended to me by a Kaiser M.D. whose 2 kids she had delivered. The problem was that when I tried to see her several years ago, she was not accepting any new patients. If that is still the case, I would highly recommend Dr. Laura Minikel as an alternative. She is a younger OB/GYN whose warmth, intelligence and skills have gotten me through several unfortunate pregnancy- related problems and who delivered my son beautifully under emergency circumstances. Good luck in your search. lou
May 2005

I would like to find a new ob/gyn provider at either Kaiser Oakland or Kaiser WC. I am a long-time Kaiser member, and love most everything about the system, but am still not connecting, personally, with any of the ob/gyns that I've met so far, at either facility. I hope to become pregnant soon with baby #2. I have some chronic health issues that require regular gynecological care, as well as other health issues that can be troublesome in pregnancy, and for those reasons, I don't qualify to have my care followed by a Nurse Practioner (too bad, b/c I've seen some great ones there). So, I am not looking for NP recommendations right now. I'm definitely into low-tech births, and had a terrific one for baby #1. It's not crucial to me that the doctor is also supportive of this (b/c I know that residents deliver at oakland anyway), but mostly I would like someone who is personable, knowledgeable and treats pregnancy as a natural process, rather than a medical one, per se. Can I find that in a Kaiser doctor? I would love to hear that I can!


I have had a wonderful experience with my OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland. Her name is Laura Minikel (sp?), and she worked with me through most of my pregnancy. Due to a heart condition, I chose to give birth in a hospital and receive antibiotics, but she was very supportive of my desire to limit all other invasive procedures and medications. She was very clear about my rights as a patient and how to communicate them to the residents. She always managed to work me into her schedule (even when receptionists claimed her day was booked), returned my calls promptly, and was thrilled to meet my baby. I hope she has space for another patient! Happy at Kaiser
I saw a great OB MD at Kaiser Oakland during my complicated pregnancy (I had a very severe case of hyperemesis). I loved Dr. Laura Minikel, personable, supportive, laid back and generally thinks midwives are wonderful. The only trick is her panel is often full. Good luck! Stephanie
I've seen a resident in OB/GYN Oakland Kaiser for the care of my first pregnancy. I really liked her and am happy to hear she was offered a permanent position in the department. Her name is Dr.Solano-Shaffer. I'm going through a second pregnancy now, and have been meeting w/ a nurse practioner and Dr. Walton. He is also very personable and actually kind of funny. I believe he's a perinatologist, so I'm not sure if he see's patients who are have routine pregnancies. Good Luck Tracie
Also recommended:
  • Dr. Rahim Kaiser Alameda

    2004 & Earlier


    June 2004

    I just moved to Oakland and am 18 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I started prenatal care with a great midwife, however, our insurance will be changing to Kaiser HMO as of July 1st. I am looking for a midwife/OB that supports low tech births and will support me in my effort to have a natural childbirth. I have referred to previous postings on the website, however, am looking for something more current. I would appreciate your expertise! And is it true that if you deliver at Oakland Kaiser that a resident will be the one delivering? Christy


    You won't get a doctor for prenatal care at Kaiser Oakland unless you're risk or need special care. That said, I highly recommend nurse practitioner Rebecca Avery for your prenatal care. No fuss, no muss. Check her out. She'll explain the attending physicial policy - I know it will be changing when they move back to Oakland for deliveries. Happy w/Rebecca
    If you want to have a midwife within the Kaiser system, you'll need to travel to Kaiser Walnut Creek. A staff of a dozen or so midwives complemeted by OBs perform prenatal care there, as well as deliver babies (unless an emergency happens, when an OB will be called in.) Yes, it is true that if you deliver at Kaiser Oakland (or Kaiser contracted with Alta Bates until the fall of this year), you will most likely be delivered by a resident. That didn't appeal to me at all! So when I was pregnant with my son 3 years ago, I had my routine care at my usual Kaiser (Richmond in my case), but I delivered at Walnut Creek. It was a wonderful experience! My labor was so long that I had three midwives, and each of them was excellent-- especially the last one, midwife Loraine (I think?) Rose- Lerman, who coached me through 3+ hours of pushing. She did a fantastic job of coaching, and she did a medically superior job sewing up me up afterwards, with what was a pretty huge tear. She and the whole staff there were extremely respectful of my wishes to have a natural birth, to try to avoid episiotomy, etc., and even though it didn't work out that way, I thought they remained respectful and non-judgmental when my wishes changed. I am pregnant again with my second and am planning to have this baby at W.C. too. You can take the birthing room tour at the hospital and they will give you some materials about the midwives and their system to help you decide. Good luck! Cheri
    If you want to continue with midwife care, Kaiser-Walnut Creek has a nurse-midwife program. The midwives work with the OBs and if you prefer a midwife delivery they will try to honor your preference, although in the end it depends somewhat on who is available when you deliver and the type of delivery you have. Although we received pre-natal care from an OB (Francis Wright who was fantastic), our baby was delivered by a midwife who was great. Although I opted for an epidural, I have friends who have had natural births there. There are no OB residents at Kaiser-Walnut Creek, if that makes a difference. Good luck with your decision. Happy new mom
    September 2003

    Hi, I am looking for an ObGyn doctor at Kaiser Oakland. The postings in he website are quite old (2001) and I was wondering if I could get more recent recommendations. I am very shy, so I would rather have a woman; and being a scientist myself I like the doctor to be straightforward, but gentle. As a teenager I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary disease. I haven't been tested for that again and would like to, a doctor experienced on PCOS would be ideal. Thank you Mariel


    I highly recommend Caryn Rybcynski at Oakland Kaiser-- she is warm and knowledgeable. I like here energy-- very woman positive, and she also works in the fertility dept, so she can give you info about PCOS....... Kate
    Hi there. I have been very pleased with Dr. Laura Minikel. Although she is a younger physician, she is compassionate, knowledgeable, and handles difficult situations with respect and care. I was seeing her for basic GYN exams, and she was great, but she really proved herself when I suffered an incomplete miscarriage at 10 weeks and she had to present some hard choices about D&Cs. She was also skilled in including my husband in the decision-making and was able to comfort us both without being too emotional and making a bad situation feel worse. I have been really impressed so far with the Oakland OB/GYN services. Good luck. lou
    I highly recommend Dr. Erica Brennemen. She's smart, sweet, understanding, energetic, non-judgemental, gentle. She listens and will work with you. I've known her since college in 1983 and she's been my ob/gyn since 2000. And she has an excellent reputation with her colleagues. You can't go wrong with Erica! Deena
    My OBGYN is Caryn Rybcynski and she is fantastic. She is very knowledgable and extremely thoughtful and caring. I recently had a miscarrage and she was extremely supportive through this. Due to the miscarrage I also saw Dr. Brennermen and she was also extremely wonderful through the whole process. lisa
    Over the course of two pregnancies I have seen several of the ObGyn's at Kaiser in Oakland. I will try to make comments on the ones whose names I remember.

    My regular gynecologist is Dr. Judith Lamberti who I think is great, has lots of experience, and is very clear, but doesn't do OB appointments. I trust her completely.

    Several of my prenatal apts were with Dr. Juan Guerra. I was initialy apprehensive about having a male dr, but since there isn't a lot of disrobing going on in a monthy OB appointment I thought I would give it a try. He actually was very nice, however since he came to Kaiser from private practice he gave us some misleading information about scheduling our c-section that caused a problem later. I really liked Dr. Rybczynski who was recommended in the last newsletter. She was very personable, and easy to talk to. My first son was delivered by Dr. Lamberti working with Dr. Ben Rodgers who was a resident at the time. He did all of my follow up care at Alta Bates. I have to say that of all of the drs who examinied me during my 29 hr labor he was the best. I know he was still with Kaiser Oakland last year... I saw him in the halls.

    I don't know if any of thses OBs specialize in the type of gyn that you were interested in. I would guess that if you have a particular issue it would be best to go with one of the more experienced drs like Dr. Lamberti. It is my experience that if she thinks one of the younger ones will do a good job she lets them take over the patient, but if not, she sticks with you to make sure you get the best care. Rose


    2001

    I'm looking for a new gynecologist at Kaiser, preferably at the Oakland branch. I've seen about four ob/gyns there, and the only one I really liked has left. The one most recommended is only doing fertility work now. I'd prefer a woman, and I need someone prepared to deal with hormonal problems that go beyond the usual. And gentle with the speculum!


    I don't have experience in extensive hormomal needs but can highly recommend 2 Nurse Practioners there; Vivian Zee and Elizabeth Wang. Good luck to you.
    Try Anne O'Connor. I love her. She's particularly wonderful if, like me, you're a little suspicious of the medical establishment. I give her very high marks. J.
    Can anyone give me a recommendation of an excellent OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland? Similarly, can anyone advise about whom to avoid? I am 12 weeks pregnant and I have heard some good and some not so good things about the quality of care there. ] Any thoughts would be appreciated. Erin
    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I would highly recommend Linda Franz NP at Kaiser Oakland. I've seen her for 6 years and have been very pleased with her care. I do not know if you she taking new patients. Heather
    I have had a great experience with Caryn Rybcinski (spelling is approximate!). I am having twins in a couple of weeks, and I needed some hand holding in the beginning of the pregnancy. She has an excellent way of being very informative without making me more anxious. At the first appointment, I must have had 10 to 15 questions for her. I warned her I had a lot of questions and she answered them all cheerfully, and then said, "Is that it? That was nothing -- my last patient must have asked 20 questions!" I recommended her to a friend who is having a high risk pregnancy, and when a crucial test came back negative (i.e., no problem), Dr. R. called my friend personally to tell her how happy she was for her. I have been really pleased with Dr. R., and I have not had trouble getting timely appointments. Philippa
    I received all of my prenatal care at Kaiser Oakland, mostly from Yvette Beasley, NP. She was great, open to all of my concerns and questions. I also saw Vivian Zee, NP (I think), she was also good. You will see an MD only once unless you have complications. I found the NPs to be more attentive. As for MDs, Austin was good. One word of advice, get weighed on the same scale each time. It will ensure that you really know what your weight gain is. Good Luck Joelle
    I have gone through two (happily uneventful) pregnancies, nine years apart, with Nurse Practitioner Linda Frantz. She's also been my GYN for the past fifteen years or so, and I just think she's wonderful. She is warm, straightforward, responsive and very patient. I felt very safe and secure with her as my guide through pregnancy. Avi
    I had all of my prenatal care at Kaiser Oakland (my daughter is now 9 months old). It was my experience that they thought it was not necessary that you see the same person for all of your prenatal care. None of the people that you see at Oakland will be there at Alta Bates (where you will deliver) unless there are complications and then you may see one of the "high risk" doctors. If your pregnancy is normal you will see a NP for all of your visits except one, in which you will meet one of the doctors who will assess you for risk. At the time that I was there, I saw Dr. Antonia Nicosia for my "high risk assessment". She seemed very nice and professional , although we didn't have much to discuss since I was doing ok. Once, I saw a male OB at Kaiser and didn't like him at all (he seemed uncomfortable with me, which in turn, made me uncomfortable with him). He was one of the four "h.r." doctors. I'm sorry I can't remember his name. As for NPs; the one that I settled on and tried to make all of my appointments with was Zee (I think her first name was Vivian). I liked her because she was very frank and not mushy. There were a few others that were nice, but I don't respond well to soft spoken health professionals, although my partner likes that personality. Another one that seemed very down to earth was Diana Corbin. I had her for my first few appts and didn't continue with her only because she wasn't available when I was. Kaiser is good if you are an "independent" person. This is not an insult to people who prefer a more relationship driven health system. It's just that, with Kaiser, you have to be your own advocate and you must organize yourself which can be isolating and frustrating, but the up side is once you can work with their system, you can bypass a lot of red-tape. Also, just a side note, the Kaiser doctors that I spoke with that were on call at Alta Bates said that their C-section rates were significantly lower than those of Alta Bates doctors who were not affiliated with Kaiser. They felt that this was due to their system where the Kaiser OBs work in defined shifts. Therefore, none of them have an agenda outside of your care (I had a friend who was rushed through L&D because her OB was going on vacation in the morning) . Some people objected to the idea of not forming a relationship with a doctor and then knowing that they would be the one to deliver their baby, but I found that in the moment I didn't really care who was doing the delivering.... the nurse who supported me was the one that mattered and I wasn't bothered that I hadn't met her before. I was mostly concentrating on my personal support people. I hope this helps.
    I highly recommend Cheryl Brown, a nurse practitioner at Kaiser Oakland. She shepherded me through my pregnancy with good humor, care, concern and a high level of competency. Unless you are considered a high-risk pregnancy, there isn't much reason to see an OB/GYN, and I must say that the two appts. I had with two different OB/GYNs left me less than impressed (sorry, I don't remember their names). Janet
    Some asked for the name of an OB/GYN physician at Kaiser. Oakland. I have been going to Judith Lamberti for several years. I have found that she is really sensitive to issues that are related to my health and explains them well. In addition, she has a very comforting disposition. I have friends who say the nurse practitioners are really good, but I 'm not familar with them
    Recommendation for Kaiser Prenatal Care. I was surprised at my Kaiser Prenatal care as I only saw a physician once at Kaiser Oakland to assess me for risk. I can't remember who he was but I thought he was rather abrupt and I didn't like him. I really liked the doctor who did the amniocentesis in Hayward. I can't remember his name either except that he was black and seemed really young but he really knew his stuff. I had my first baby when I was 37 at Alta Bates and always saw a physician Dr. Heather Irwin (now retired) or Dr.Rudd (also very good) so I was surprised at always having an NP but I had Vivian Zee, Elvia Perez and a couple others, but they were all really good. I also had a scary episode of bleeding and saw NP Beasley and she was very good. None of these NP's will be at your delivery at ABH. Also, probably none of the MD's who you saw at Kaiser. That didn't matter because even at Alta Bates when I had Dr.Rudd, I had two other doctors from Alta Bates deliver my first baby and I saw Dr.Rudd the next day. I don't even know if the doctor who delivered my baby this time was from Kaiser or Alta Bates although I know that the nurse who first admitted me was with Alta Bates - her name is Greta and she is very good - she used to be an Oncology nurse there and then went to L&D. I happened to have her 5 years ago for my first baby and again for this baby. My baby was admitted to the NICU and I know she was initially seen by the Alta Bates neonatologist - after that I think her neonatologists were with Kaiser - whoever they were with they were very very good. The Dr. that discharged me was young - maybe an OBGYN resident and I'm pretty sure she was from Kaiser. I can say that they really like to have you out in 48 hours - if your baby is sick and in the ICU they do have an overnight room up there for parents, a refrigerator and microwave,a breast pumping roomand a family area with a table where older children can sit and read. They have a few chairs that recline if you want to take a nap by your baby if the baby's condition allows for that. Although I was a Kaiser patient with my second baby, I still feel Alta Bates is one of the best places to have a baby - even more so if your baby might need the NICU services. Cindy
    Re: Breastfeeding Friendly Kaiser ObGyn (July 2003)
    Dr. Laura Minikel is an excellent breast-feeding friendly OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland. Danielle
    2000

    Dr. Husikowksi has been my OB/GYN for close to 20 years...through two tough pregnancies and some minor problems. He's great!


    Dr. Karen Gamin Thomassen (sp?). She was present during some of the labor and delivery of my daughter 10 years ago, and then performed surgery on my daughter at age 7 3/4 when she had a tumor on her ovary. That was when I had more contact with her. I felt that she was extremely competent, straightfoward, had a good "bedside manner," and was easy to talk with. I believe she is still with Kaiser. Good luck. Sarah
    I've seen Yvette Beaseley for the past 3 years and been quite happy with her. She takes time to talk about any questions/concerns and seems very sensitive and competent when doing exams. Amy
    1998

    The nurse practitioner that I see for gynecology is Ann O'Connor. I think that she is very good. When I come in with my list of questions she is really good about letting me go through the list and doesn't rush me when I ask questions. She also is very reassuring and assumes that you know what you are talking about. She also was great about recommending books. I have also seen Yvette Beasly, another Nurse practiontioner, at the Oakland hospital. She was good too. I only see women doctors/nurses, so sometimes it takes a little longer to get an appointment. My sister-in-law always sees a doctor and never has trouble getting appointments because she is willing to be seen by a male doctor... just something to consider. As a patient at Richmond I always saw Cindy St. John (another nurse), and thought that she was good. There was a male doctor who I saw there once. (I cannot remember his name now, but I checked at one point and he was gone.) He was awful. He totally discounted my observations about my body, and was very condescending. Thank god he is gone now!

    I just signed up for a personal physician at Oakland Kaiser this year and I saw Dr Julie Morial she was nice, and I thought she was quite thorough. She took my family health history, gave me an exam, and sent me for a complete blood work up, and then mailed me the results with an explanation. I was impressed.


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