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Doctor in the (pink) house

Donna Tanchev Her

Donna Tanchev designs a general practice for women from the ground up

by Jo Crompton

Behind the warm lighting, pink shades and fresh flowers at Dr Donna Tanchev’s (Class of 2006) women-centred medical practice is a smart and savvy business strategy, borne out of a passion for women’s health and wellbeing.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2020-21 women saw a GP more often than men, and previous studies have found that female-specific problems accounted for around one quarter of all problems managed by GPs for women in their childbearing years. 

The nature and complexity of female-specific complaints means they can take more time to manage, requiring longer consultations or more visits. And, as Dr Tanchev says, most GP practices aren’t the kind of place anyone wants to spend a lot of time.


“GP practices all looked and felt the same to me, cold, often grey. They aren’t really comfortable places – and you’re already uncomfortable when you’re going in for something like a pap smear,” she says.

"I thought of places like hair salons or beauty spas and wondered why medical practices couldn’t be more like that – warm, welcoming and comfortable.”


After seven years in general practice on the Gold Coast, the Bond medicine graduate still hadn’t found the type of medical practice she truly wanted to work in, or to visit as a patient. 

So, she teamed up with her brother and fellow Bondy Mr Dennis Tanchev (Class of 2007), a business graduate, to bring a long-held dream to life. In October last year, Dr Tanchev opened Her Medical at Bundall on the Gold Coast.

Mr Tanchev, a property developer, took the lead on finding the location and the building team, working with Dr Tanchev and an architect to design her vision. She then focused on gathering a team of experts from across the medical and allied health spectrum, putting the health needs of women at the centre.

“The focus is on conditions that affect women’s health – women undergoing menopause, for example, might benefit from the expertise of an exercise physiologist if they have bone density issues, or a dietician to help manage conditions like diabetes,” she says. 

"We also have psychologists on staff to address mental health issues such as anxiety, which is often incorrectly diagnosed in women.”

Dr Tanchev and her team are also supporting women with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which can present differently in female patients, causing them to be misdiagnosed.


“It’s often when mums are getting their kids diagnosed that they find themselves thinking, ‘hang on, these are all symptoms that I can relate to’,” she says. 

"It may have been diagnosed as anxiety, for example, and you’ve got these high-functioning, well educated women who have tried several different anxiety medications that haven’t quite worked. Then they try the ADHD medication, and it is life-changing.”


Patients feeling comfortable, safe and listened to is what helps drive those life-changing moments, and keeps Dr Tanchev motivated to follow her dreams.

“I expect to be doing this for a very long time," she says.