Our Providers and Staff
Mary Wellhoner, MD, MPH, FACOG
Dr. Mary Wellhoner founded the Women’s Wellness Center in 1999 in order to provide comprehensive wellness-centered gynecologic care for women. She enjoys spending time with her patients and helping them achieve more active and abundant lifestyles. After moving to Reno in 1998, Dr. Wellhoner realized that many women wanted a more integrative approach to their health care. Women were seeking information on all aspects of wellness and alternative treatments and needed help sorting through the abundance of confusing health information becoming available online. She gave up the practice of obstetrics and founded the Women’s Wellness Center in order to focus on integrative gynecology, which emphasizes incorporation of alternative therapies, nutrition and bioidentical treatments into traditional medical and surgical practice. In addition to traditional gynecologic care and surgery, the Women’s Wellness Center strives to provide comprehensive services to enhance wellness, hormone balance, sexual and spiritual health.
Dr. Wellhoner is originally from Florida, attended UC San Diego School of Medicine and completed obstetrics and gynecology residency at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. After residency, Dr. Wellhoner obtained additional training in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, nutrition, alternative therapies and female sexual health. She incorporates all hormone replacement options into her practice and has worked with local compounding pharmacies for the past 15 years to help women with special hormone replacement needs. In addition, many of Dr. Wellhoner’s patients benefit from the simultaneous treatment with acupuncture offered across the hall by Dr. Wellhoner’s husband, George Mars MD. In conjunction with the University of Nevada, Dr. Wellhoner and Dr. Mars have published a pilot study on the benefits of acupuncture for treating female sexual dysfunction.
Drs. Wellhoner and Mars have raised their two children in Reno, both of whom are now attending UNR. Dr. Wellhoner has a passion for international health and in 2010 completed a Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University focusing on global maternal health and mortality. She regularly does volunteer public health work in developing countries.
Kenneth Poppen, DO, FACOOG,
Dr. Kenneth Poppen, DO, FACOOG is joining the Women’s Wellness Center after relocating from the Bay Area. Dr. Poppen practices general gynecology with a specialization in minimally invasive surgery for endometriosis, female pelvic pain, fibroids and abnormal uterine bleeding. He is an active member of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists and the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons.
Originally from Sacramento, Dr. Poppen attended college at the University of California, San Diego receiving his degree in Human Biology. He then attended medical school at Touro University in Vallejo, California. Following graduation he moved across the country for his Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at Inspira Regional Medical Center in Vineland, New Jersey. During residency, he developed a particular interest in the surgical removal of endometriosis after seeing that endometriosis patients were often misdiagnosed and under treated.
After residency, he completed a fellowship in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Utica, New York. During his fellowship, Dr. Poppen learned laparoscopic surgical techniques from world-renowned experts. His training prepared him to offer his patients gynecologic surgeries with minimal scarring and expedited recovery. His research projects included laparoscopic suturing techniques for fibroid scars and the surgical removal of nerve bundles to alleviate pelvic pain due to endometriosis.
In addition to providing expert surgical care, Dr. Poppen is committed to making sure each of his patients feels she is heard and completely satisfied with her experience. “I believe in treating each patient as a unique individual. I do my best to take the time to learn each patient's story, so I can tailor my care to their specific needs.”
Dr. Poppen spent his childhood winters skiing in Tahoe and is now excited to make Reno his home. Additionally, he enjoys golfing, traveling, and spending time with his wife Lauren, children Hannah and Caleb, and their black lab, Dixie.
Laurie Smith is one of our greatest assets at Women’s Wellness Center, and we are excited to feature her practice in this month’s newsletter. Remarkably, Laurie has been a nurse practitioner in the Reno-Sparks area for over 25 years. She obtained her Bachelor of Nursing degree from the University of Calgary, Canada in 1980. In 1984 she relocated to Reno and started working at Washoe Medical Center. She received her Women's Health Nurse Practitioner certificate in 1989 from Harbor-UCLA.
Laurie has had the privilege to work with the best gynecologists in Reno-Sparks who have inspired her throughout her career. Her career began at Washoe Pregnancy Center. Along with Drs. Craig Klose, Terrence McGaw and Ricardo Garcia, they developed a community-based obstetrical program for low-income women.
After 13 dedicated years, she left the program to join Dr. Martin Naughton, a highly skilled and innovative gynecologist, which expanded her ability to care for the gynecological needs of women of all ages. She credits Dr. Naughton for all the wealth of knowledge he instilled in her. A few years later, Drs. Pamela Netuschil and Elizabeth Hutson joined the practice and Laurie continued to learn from them. In 2014, she joined Women's Wellness Center to continue her journey of learning and caring for women in the Reno-Sparks area.
Laurie has been recognized by the medical community and patients for her commitment to women with nominations for Nurse Practitioner of the Year in 2002 and 2010 as well as a Reno News and Review 2nd place award for "Best Gyn in Reno" in 2008.
Laurie's passion for women's health is evident in the high quality health care she has provided to women of all ages. While she strives to keep current with all the latest options and innovations for birth control, menopause treatment and gyn surgery, her goal is to help women achieve optimal wellness and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. She is particularly focused on helping our youngest generation of women – the teenagers and college crowd -- find their way through the difficulties of growing into womanhood. She spends extra time with young women to ensure their safety and confidence.
Laurie proudly became an American citizen in September 2013. Laurie and her husband, Gary, have
two grown daughters and enjoy all the recreational and cultural opportunities Northern Nevada has to offer.
One of her favorite excursions is visiting the wine country to enjoy the beauty and delicious wine and is
particularly partial to the bold, flavorful reds.
Laurie enjoys gardening in the summer and loves to share the delicious tomatoes and vegetables she grows. Her zucchini bread is one of our favorite treats at Women’s Wellness Center. Laurie and her husband completed a kitchen remodel over the past summer. She is very proud of her dream kitchen and extremely grateful to her contractor brother for making it happen.
Laura Cooper, BSN, MSN, WHNP-BC
Laura Cooper is a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. She obtained her Bachelors of Science in Nursing in 1985 from the University of Nevada, Reno, Nurse Practitioner certificate in 1995 from the Harbor-UCLA NP program, and her Masters in Nursing in 2001 from Western University in Pomona, California.
Laura is a long time resident of Northern Nevada. She became a Community Health Nurse for the State of Nevada in 1989 where she provided public health services and women’s exams for residents in 14 rural counties. She retired from state service in February 2014, but she missed helping women and desired to return to providing nursing care. Laura found intermittent nursing experience before finding her place at the Women’s Wellness Center. She has a strong belief that preventing illness and maintaining an individual’s optimal level of wellness is important to having a full and meaningful life.
Laura and her husband have 3 grown children who also reside in Northern Nevada. She enjoys many of the outdoor activities available in Nevada such as skiing, camping, and hiking. Some of her favorite sites to visit are Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and Zion National Park.