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Sacred Heart Maternity Clinic named for “Father-Doctor Stan”

by Kate VanSkike, PA

At a gathering of Providence leaders, Sisters of Providence, physicians and obstetrics caregivers on March 31, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, renamed its maternity clinic the Father Stan Malnar, MD, Maternity Clinic.

“Too often, people are not recognized for their service or their inspiration until they’re gone. We didn’t want to wait with Father Stan,” Providence Health Care (PHC) Regional Chief Executive Elaine Couture told the crowd. “His influence on families in this region has been too important for us not to show our appreciation — now — for the impact he has made.”

“It’s not MY clinic – it’s Sacred Heart’s,” Dr. Malnar clarified, recognizing the nurses, residents, secretaries, social workers and dieticians who have played an integral role in the ministry of the Maternity Clinic, which serves pregnant women who would otherwise go without prenatal care.

Father Stan, who is a longtime Providence Associate, is also quick to recognize the bishops who agreed to let him pursue a career in medicine alongside his role as a priest. Special guests at the dedication included Fathers Gary Reller and Jack Darragh from the Diocese of Helena, where he attended school and joined the diocese. Father Stan’s sister Joyce, from Denver, was also present.

Julie Emery, who was a nurse on the Birth Place when Dr. Stan was a young resident physician, and later worked with him as manager of the Maternity Clinic, shared stories of Stan’s love for the women who come to Sacred Heart for care. Steve Brisbois, MD, division chief for Women’s Services, read scripture from Matthew 25, in which Jesus, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Spokane’s former Bishop Emeritus William Skylstad was also present to bless the clinic, and talked about the characteristics that make Stan such an excellent doctor and priest. Though former Providence CEO Mike Wilson couldn’t be there in person, he shared a message via video. Mike reflected on the many times Stan served as a spiritual guide and support for Sacred Heart leaders over the years.

The plaque now hanging in the Maternity Clinic reads:

Both priest and physician, Stan Malnar became director of the Maternity Clinic in 1989. Caring for pregnant women from all walks of life, Dr. Malnar believes the Clinic is an expression of the Gospel of Jesus and the mission of the Sisters of Providence.

In 2014, Providence dedicated the Clinic in his name, forever tying its service to the man who so lovingly helped thousands of women enter motherhood on the foundation of acceptance and dignity.

Congratulations, Father-Doctor Stan!

Note: There is more history on the Maternity Clinic and on the dual path of Father-Doctor Stan’s career and ministry in the June issue of Sacred Heart’s Heart Beat magazine.

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