(Neosho, MO) – Dr. Melanie Akuna, an internal medicine physician, has joined the staff of Freeman Health System’s Neosho Physician Group.
Akuna supports primary preventative care and likes to address patients’ issues early to help prevent them from becoming seriously ill.
“I’m pretty easy-going,” Akuna said, who holds a medical degree from Trinity School of Medicine. “I try not to be judgmental with anybody. I think my role is to use my expertise to help my patients better their own health than using the classic paternalistic medicine,” where a patient’s health decisions are made by a doctor without input.
Akuna is also a rare “legacy” doctor. Family Medicine Specialist Bruce Akuna, long affiliated with both Freeman Health System and Freeman Neosho Hospital, is her father.
“Lots of people recognize my last name,” she said with a laugh.
Akuna recently completed her three-year internal medicine residency at Freeman. During her residency graduation, Freeman’s Dr. Robert McNab praised her work ethic and dedication to helping others.
“I think Dr. Akuna is definitely one of those people who is just so true to herself,” McNab said. “She brings a personality and charm to everything she does. It’s been a great pleasure to see her build her confidence and turn into a fantastic physician who will be an amazing addition to our medical family.”
By staying on at Freeman, Akuna is following closely in her father’s footsteps.
“My mother is from Joplin,” she said. “After my father did his residency in Pennsylvania, we came here in 2008. I love the Joplin area.”
She lives with her husband in Redings Mill – along with six chickens and four 6-year-old Leopard gecko lizards.
“My dad originally had geckos in his clinic,” she said. “He acquired them from nurses and he started raising them. After my childhood dog passed he brought me a lot of them.”
A common topic of conversation between Akuna and her patients centers around the elaborate nail art.
“I really like doing it. It’s something I picked up during medical school. I found it hard sitting with nothing to do while re-listening to my lectures and polishing my notes. It gave me something to do,” she said. “During my residency interview I had the Freeman logo on my nails; everybody wanted to see them.”
Akuna is accepting new patients at Freeman Neosho Physician Group, 336 S. Jefferson. To schedule an appointment, call 417.455.4200.
About Freeman Health System
Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center — the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services — as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit freemanhealth.com.
Kevin McClintock, Media Relations Coordinator
Freeman Health System