Photos Cameron Flaisch

Valentine’s Day is that time of year when people express love and appreciation to that special someone. It’s also a time women can show a little love to themselves by making an appointment for a health screening. Dr. Raymond Jarvis and Dr. Marc Dean, both physicians of obstetrics-gynecology, explain how Harbin Clinic Women’s Center in Rome can help the women who take care of everyone else take care of themselves, too.

Continuing a tradition of caring for women’s health

The roots of this clinic go back to the days just before WWII. Dr. Robert Norton began a medical practice in Rome in 1937. Eight years later, he expanded his work by creating the Norton Women’s Center. Dr. Norton and the medical staff he trained over the years set a standard of excellence in Northwest Georgia for meeting women’s health needs. In 1996 the Norton Women’s Clinic joined Harbin Clinic, establishing the Harbin Clinic Women’s Center. 

Dr. Jarvis says, “We still have patients, though rare these days, who come in and say, ‘Dr. Norton delivered my baby!’ I love to talk to them because they’re a reminder of our tradition of caring.” Dr. Norton’s high standards aligned with those of Harbin Clinic, making the union a perfect fit. Dr. Dean adds, “The legacy that Dr. Norton started in Rome some eight decades ago—and the work of all the former physicians and staff—have laid that foundation for us. 

It really is a legacy of caring. Harbin Clinic also has a legacy of exceptional care that’s rooted in compassion, so it made perfect sense to bring these two organizations together.”

Communication and innovation

One weakness of some major medical institutions is that communication between physicians sometimes gets lost in the system. “But here,” Dr. Jarvis explains, “if I have a patient who needs a general surgeon, I can text one of my general surgeon partners and get an immediate response. That’s a unique environment we have, and that’s made it a pleasure to work here. Our partners and staff—this whole Harbin community—take an immediate and sincere interest in the patients’ care.”

This openness in communication fosters an environment where doctors are willing to share their ideas with one another and try new things. Dr. Dean says, “The Harbin brothers and the Harbin Hospital’s legacy created a standard of excellence. Harbin was one of the first to perform a blood transfusion in the state, use the first x-ray machine in Georgia, and perform the first laparoscopic hysterectomy in Floyd County. This culture of innovation still exists today.”


Changing and upgrading

The Harbin Clinic Women’s Center in Rome has recently renovated its workspace, improving the flow through the facility, making it easier for patients and visitors to find their way around. The new aesthetics make for a warm, welcoming environment. “Visiting a doctor’s office is a stressful experience for some people,” Dr. Dean says. “This place is now more open and relaxing; the colors are calming. And this is a better use of our space—more exam rooms, more procedure rooms. We’re able to do a lot more for our patients.”

“It’s more efficient,” Dr. Jarvis says. “That’s important because we try to respect our patients’ time as best we can.” Regarding the decision to renovate or relocate, Dr. Jarvis explains, “We all felt it was in our best interest, and in our patients’ best interest, to remain here on the hospital’s campus and renovate our existing space. This way, we are immediately available to the hospital and delivery. That’s an integral part of how we think; we really feel it’s vitally important that we’re close to the hospital.”

Dr. Dean says, “Being in close proximity to the hospital is a convenience for both the patient and the providers. If I’m on call, I can run back to the hospital to see a patient. Or if I’m in surgery I can ask another doctor to check on a patient in labor and delivery. We can easily help each other.”

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Back row (left to right): Dr. Marc Dean, Dr. Raymond Jarvis - Front row (left to right): Dr. Diana Vallecilla, Dr. Barry Brass, Dr. Margaret Marion


Harbin Clinic is physician-led and physician-owned. This gives the doctors a great deal of discretion in deciding what is in the best interest of their patients. Dr. Dean says, “The physicians are involved in a lot of the decisions regarding the clinic as a whole. Things like what services we’re providing, where we’re providing those services, and how. In that, we have a wide range of nearly 100% of all specialties you might need. Rarely do we have to refer a patient outside of Rome.” He goes on to say, “For instance, if we have a woman come in with acute appendicitis, we can get on the phone with one of our partners, and they’ll tell us to send her right over.” Dr. Jarvis agrees: “The ability to communicate with other doctors on important cases on short notice makes Harbin Clinic such an essential part of this community.”

Regular health screenings are vital for women’s physical wellbeing and peace of mind. For those who have put such things off because of life’s hectic pace, now would be a good time to give themselves the Valentine’s Day gift of a thorough check-up. And there’s no better place in Northwest Georgia to make that happen than with Harbin Clinic’s Women’s Health teams.

To learn more about Harbin Clinic and their Women’s Centers in Rome and Cartersville, visit


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