Welcome to a glimpse into the fascinating career of Grace Gibbs, D.O., who from a very early age was totally committed to becoming a physician. The story of how she not only fulfilled her dream, but also provides her skills in her service to our nation as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force can be compared to “the stuff from which movies are made”. However, throughout her stellar military and medical career, Dr. Gibbs has always kept service and medicine as her personal focus.
Throughout her fascinating career, Dr. Gibbs has continually been willing to challenge the status quo in order to provide exceptional healthcare for her patients. She has done so in the military by serving in our armed forces domestically and abroad. In her medical career she has always pursued the most advanced, state of the art techniques, including the use of the da Vinci® Surgical System.
Dr. Gibbs, an effervescent, articulate new member of the Lexington Women’s Health team, provided a glimpse of her passion for serving our nation as she shared unique milestones in her career.
“For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a physician, but I simply did not have the means to pay for my college education,” she reflects. “During my junior year in high school, an Air Force Recruiter came and spoke at our campus about the opportunities the Air Force could provide. At age 17, I enlisted into the United States Air Force. Four days after my high school graduation, I left for basic training.
“At a time when most of my high school classmates were finalizing their plans for college, I had completed basic training and was just finishing training in my career field of medical logistics. In August, I was given my first assignment to Wiesbaden Air Force Base, West Germany. My flight to Germany was in a C-130 Cargo plane. It was my first experience in a military aircraft and I loved it. It was than I knew that the military and flying would always be a part of my life.
“My commitment to become a physician made me more resolute than ever to serve my country in some way, and above all, to try to make a difference in people’s lives.
While I was stationed in Wiesbaden, I was assigned a new trainee named Todd Gibbs. We served together overseas, and found that we shared many of the same values. We were married in Denmark, and have been together ever since. Todd has always been my rock. It may sound cliché, but I would not be where I am without him. We are parents of two sons, Kirk age 27, and Justin age 25. They are both are currently in college.”
Realizing the opportunity to combine her passion for medicine with her ongoing commitment to serve her country, Dr. Gibbs joined the Air National Guard after 8 years of active duty. “With the support of my family, I finished my undergraduate degree at Buena Vista University and earned my medical degree from Des Moines University,” she says. “All the while I maintained my commitment to our country through my service as a flight surgeon with the Air National Guard.”
Dr. Gibbs is currently in her 29th year with the Air Force and has been deployed many times for various missions. In her words, those missions required “courage, commitment, focus, patriotism, and a huge amount of respect for the dedication of those who are the ‘unsung heroes’ in our midst.”
Dr. Gibbs has served with the Michigan Air National Guard as Senior Flight Surgeon for 171st Air Refueling Squadron and Chief of Clinical Services 127th Medical Group. She is currently assigned to the 123rd Airlift Wing Kentucky ANG. She has been involved in many refueling missions and has been deployed to many countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Qatar, Yemen, Guam, Germany, Japan, and Turkey.
Just last month, Dr. Gibbs was awarded an Air Medal for her recent combat missions. An Air Medal is awarded for acts of heroism while participating in aerial flight and foreign military personnel in actual combat in support of operations.
This year, Dr. Gibbs joined the Lexington Women’s Health Obstetrics Gynecology/Midwifery team, bringing with her an impressive history of knowledge of the full spectrum of women’s care, including gynecology, obstetrics, and minimally invasive surgery, including da Vinci® robotic surgery.
“This amazing robot enables surgeons to operate through just a few small incisions,” Dr. Gibbs says. “Some of the major advantages for the surgeon using robotic surgery include greater visualization and precision. Some of the benefits for the patient include smaller incisions, faster recovery time and return to normal activities (most of my hysterectomy patients return to work after 2 weeks) and shorter hospitalizations, as well asß reduced pain, discomfort and blood loss.”
A woman of many talents, Dr. Gibbs specializes in obstetrics and gynecology, caring for women of all ages throughout their life spans. She absolutely loves delivering babies. When asked how many babies she has delivered, she shares that there have been “more than a few!” including one amazing 24-hour period when she brought eight newborns into the world. She says that getting to know her patients and their families is what she enjoys most about her specialty.
Dr. Gibbs says that the stellar reputation of Lexington Women’s Health is what brought her and her husband to the Central Kentucky area.
“I absolutely love working on a collaborative team of physicians, certified nurse midwives, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and the rest of the highly trained staff. As health care evolves, we all believe that “care” should still be the foundation of our practice.
“Lexington also offers a variety of opportunities for my family and me. Lexington is a fascinating place–large and diverse enough to provide “big city” opportunities for recreation, music and culture. My husband and I are huge sports fanatics–Go Green/Go White! We are also avid golfers, and I have already gotten a hole in one at Houston Oaks. Don’t worry, we’re looking forward to following UK sports as well—Go Big Blue!”