Wendy Cantrell’s Journey to the Top Always Included Gardendale

Sharing stories about hometown folks that live in our communities we cover is one of our favorite things to do at The Gardendale News.

Wendy Cantrell is one of those great Gardendale stories. She has reached the heights of academia and her career, all while marrying her Gardendale High School sweetheart and being a mom to three kids. She has done it all while staying right here in Gardendale.

So, to our younger readers, including my two sons, you can be successful and build a wonderful life while staying right here in Gardendale. Wendy Cantrell is proof of just that fact.

Treye Hanner: Tell our readers a little about you and growing up in Gardendale. Why did you choose to stay in Gardendale and raise your family here?

Wendy Cantrell: My family has lived in Gardendale for 3 generations, and I love Gardendale! My husband, Eric, and I were high school sweethearts, and we are proud graduates of Gardendale High School. We have lived in the area since we got married, and we have 3 children: Gabe (18), Noah (15) and Emma (10).

Family and faith are foundational to our family, and we never waivered where we wanted to raise our family. We have loved raising our family in the town we grew up in, and we are grateful family has been able to be fully present in our children’s lives.

We are also thankful for the friends we are able to do life with from our church, school, and sports involvement.

Treye Hanner: You have a very impressive and accomplished resume in the medical field. Was there a particular moment growing up that you knew you wanted to become a nurse practitioner?

Wendy Cantrell: I do not recall when I decided to become a nurse, but I remember being resolute in my career choice. My parents encouraged me to continue my education after I received my bachelor’s degree, and I loved my journey to become a healthcare provider. I was hired by UAB Department of Dermatology before I completed my master’s degree. From the very first patient, I loved dermatology.

I love being able to help patient’s feel better about the skin they are in, and I truly enjoy the skin cancer prevention aspect of dermatology. While at UAB, I managed the clinical research department in dermatology. I was able to be on the cutting edge of many of the dermatology products you see advertised today.

Treye Hanner: You earned master’s and doctorate degrees in nursing, even becoming a professor at UAB. What motivated you to continue deeper into your nursing studies and how has this helped shape your work now at Village Dermatology?

Wendy Cantrell: I am grateful to UAB Dermatology for the foundation I gained in the 20 years I was in academic medicine, and UAB leadership encouraged me to obtain my doctoral degree. After 20 years at UAB, I left academia for private practice at Village Dermatology. It was the best decision for my career and my family, and one of the first decisions Village made was to open a clinic in Gardendale. I am able to see patients at 3 locations, including the Gardendale location. We welcome patients of all ages and all skin conditions and diseases.

Treye Hanner: You have accomplished so much in your career and life, what is the next challenge for you on your journey?

Wendy Cantrell: The last 22 years of my career have flown by! It could be said this is indicative of a calling instead of a job. I hope we are able to open a clinical research department at Village Dermatology in the near future, and I hope to continue to treat patients for many years to come.

I am proud to be a member of several local, state and national groups who provide continuing education to other dermatology nurse practitioners and physician assistants. I began teaching at 2 universities several years ago, and I teach in the Nurse Practitioner and the Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs. I find joy in the fact that I am helping to prepare our future healthcare providers.