Karen Crabtree, MD

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Karen Crabtree, MD photo

Care for Her Clinical Director, OB/GYN

Service(s): Women's Health

Location(s): Ukiah-Hillside


MD - Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA


Diplomate, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Professional Associations:

Fellow, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology


Board certified obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Karen Crabtree was named Ukiah Valley Medical Center’s (UVMC) 2013 Physician of the Year. Dr. Crabtree serves as Clinical Director at Mendocino Community Health Clinic’s Care for Her Program. Here’s how UVMC described Dr. Crabtree:

Dr. Crabtree is a highly skilled obstetrician who demonstrates excellence in her specialty while maintaining a compassionate, patient-centered approach that is truly extraordinary. She is a strong supporter of the practice of nurse midwifery and values the collaboration she shares with her nurse midwife practice partners, who describe her as a great leader, colleague and team member.  The nurses in the UVMC Family Birth Center appreciate that Dr. Crabtree listens carefully to them and respects their opinions regarding patient care.

...Dr. Crabtree has a richly varied background of professional practice experience, primarily focused on the care of the poor and underserved. She spent many years practicing in Africa and working with Native American populations in the United States. She continues to serve on an American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology committee that conducts site visits to Indian Health Services clinics around the country.

Dr. Crabtree maintains cutting-edge knowledge and skills as an obstetrician-gynecologist, but also values allowing natural birth processes to occur, avoiding medical intervention whenever it is safe to do so. She is committed to minimizing cesarean section rates – a national patient safety initiative – and is willing to expend a great deal of time and energy exhausting other alternatives, again when it is safe to do so. She ensures that practice at UVMC is guided by national and/or international best practice as a member of the Obstetric and Surgical Service Committees. She is currently the chair of the hospital’s Peer Review Committee and the Medical Executive Committee and has served faithfully in both roles.

Ukiah Valley Medical Center is very fortunate to have a physician leader of Dr. Crabtree’s caliber on its medical staff. The patients and staff of the Family Birth Center – and patients in the broader community that we serve – have benefitted greatly from her compassionate care and passion for excellence. She is very deserving of this honor and has our highest recommendation as a role model in professional, patient-focused care.

Dr. Crabtree’s Care for Her colleagues agreed with those sentiments and added some of their own.

Several colleagues expressed awe at Dr. Crabtree’s depth of knowledge and uncanny recall. “She has an astounding mind,” said Dr. Adwoa Christy. “You can ask her anything and she knows it. She’s an incredible resource,” said Vivian White, CNM.  “We have to look at charts; she just pulls the facts out of her head,” said Carolyn Wyatt, NP.

They also marveled at her intuition and appreciated her mindful use of resources. Dr. Crabtree’s approach was described as a conscientious blend of trusting her remarkable intuition with ordering appropriate tests to diagnose problems. “Dr. Crabtree worked in Africa where she didn’t have a lot to work with. You have to use every sense you have--eyes, ears, touch--to diagnose and treat patients. It’s hands on care. You can’t order a battery of tests and see what comes back,” Wyatt said. She continued to explain that she thinks that’s why Dr. Crabtree is so careful with resources in her current practice. “Dr. Crabtree orders exactly what she needs to make the right diagnosis,” she said.

Health Educator Sandy Sawyer said, “I think it would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dr. Crabtree’s sense of humor, which is great.” Care for Her Manager Jill Damian said, “She leads by example. Her leadership, work ethic, and commitment to her team and her patients provide a model for all of us to follow.” 

Dr. Crabtree avoids the spotlight when possible, preferring to focus on the needs of patients, but sometimes a little recognition is due. Katrina Lieben, CNM, summed it up pretty well, “I don’t know what else to say: she’s awesome!”