By KIM ESTES
Four Points News
After two years, founder John Thoppil expands the practice he created — River Place OB/GYN — and now two local doctors care for women’s health.
“We were the first OB/GYN in Four Points. We would like to thank everyone for the support in our time here, and (now) we are very excited for the addition of Dr. Shepherd to our staff,” Thoppil said.
Not only do many women prefer a female provider but the addition of Shepherd will also increase access to care for River Place OB/GYN patients.
“Currently, I am in the hospital at least one day a week for surgery. We will now have a physician here every day of the workweek,” said Thoppil.
In October 2014, he opened River Place OB/GYN, located at 6611 River Place Blvd.
Shepherd, a native Texan, is returning from Providence, RI, where she completed her residency and worked as an academic generalist in the Brown University Women’s OB/GYN program at the Women and Infants Hospital. As an academic generalist, Shepherd was both a doctor to her patients and a teacher to medical students.
“While I enjoyed my teaching role, I am looking forward to building a long-term practice in this community. Dr. Thoppil’s practice provides individualized care in addition to outstanding evidence-based medicine for women,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd and her husband, Brian Ferguson, a special education teacher in Eanes ISD, live in River Place with their 3-year- old twins: son, Henry, and daughter, Harper.
Shepherd was born in San Antonio and grew up in Lindale. She first earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in education from Trinity University and worked as a middle school math and special education teacher.
She taught in San Antonio as well as India and Anchorage. “My husband and I did this together. It was like an extended honeymoon and an exciting way to start our marriage. We wanted to teach internationally and our school in India was the first to hire us. From there Alaska hired us over the phone, which was great because we didn’t have much money to travel for interviews,” she recalls.
However, after five years, Shepherd pursued a new adventure and enrolled at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, for a medical degree.
“I saw medicine as an opportunity to combine teaching with science,” she said, adding, “I chose OB/GYN because the specialty has it all: surgery, outpatient care, continuity of care over a woman’s lifetime, preventative care and, of course, obstetrics. Caring for pregnant women and being part of their journey to motherhood is an honor.”
Her commitment equals Thoppil’s. “Most surgical specialties do not allow for continuity of care. OB/GYN is unique in that we build long-term relationships with our patients, even after an acute surgical episode. That continuity is what drew me to it,” he said.
Thoppil, who has practiced medicine for 15 years, began his medical career in Austin working for a Cedar Park hospital.
“Thankfully many of my patients followed me when I moved to Four Points,” he said.
Thoppil has since been named Austin Monthly’s Top Doctor for 2015 and among the Top 10 OB/GYN doctors in Austin in 2014. He lives in Steiner Ranch with his wife, a pediatrician, Dr. Nimmi Thoppil, and their 6-year- old son, John, Jr., a first grader at River Ridge Elementary.
Noting that both he and Shepherd live in Four Points, Thoppil said, “We take the responsibility of caring for our neighbors very seriously.”
For more information on River Place OB/GYN, call (512) 473-8300 or go to www.riverplaceobg.com