By Ron Wynn
Nashville, TN— In an age of technological revolution and hurried, assembly-line treatment, Dr. Shindana Feagins emphasizes the personal touch in health care. Her practice, Feagins Medical Group in Suite 310, 1916 Patterson Street. Dr. Feagins welcomes on average 30-40 patients a day. “They range from teens to senior citizens,” Feagins said during a lengthy interview conducted at her office during her lunch hour. She has operated a one-woman practice since 2009, and says the advantages far outweigh any difficulties.
“I enjoy being my own boss,” Feagins said. “I’ve always liked being independent and not forced into a box as a doctor. You can be creative in how you deal with patients and the public. I took some of the things that I learned from all my experiences.” These include a two-year stint as medical director at the Tennessee Prison for Women (2005-2007) and a stint with a group practice (2007-2009). “During that last period, I built up my reputation with patients,” Dr. Feagins added. I reached a point where I felt I could make it on my own. A lot of them followed me here.”
Indeed, Feagins has only recently begun advertising, because she says “word of mouth has always been my best advertiser, and it is free. I have done a couple of health fairs. But the best way to develop a practice is being willing to see people, treat them nicely, and be thorough. Then they tell others about you. Historically , it has been difficult in many sectors of the Black community to get people to seek medical care. Often they don’t feel they’re being respected or taken seriously. When you are in private practice, relationships are what make or break you. I even do house calls for elderly and disabled patients.”
She cites obesity and heart disease as two of the biggest medical problems African Americans confront. They also lead to other equally serious illnesses. “A lot of Black women are obese,” Dr. Feagins continued. “You can trace that to diabetes, hypertension, even breast cancer. Another huge issue with Black men is prostrate cancer.”
Dr. Feagins’ imaginative style is evident in her method of combating obesity. She’s created a program known as the “Walk With Your Doctor Weight Loss Plan.” “I wanted to start a program that looked at everything involved in weight issues, that tackled things from the mental, physical and spiritual side,” Dr. Feagins said. “So we developed a six-week program that has several components, one of which involves walking along with patients. We also have behavior modification, working with a personal trainer and nutritionist, an injection that includes amino acids and B vitamins, and exercise. We work on your metabolism and energy, eating habits, and incorporate this with group sessions. Our patients lose pounds and inches in the process.”
Dr. Feagins is a prime example of how well the program works. She’s lost 22 pounds and between six and eight inches over a recent stretch. “The patients can go through as many cycles as they wish until they reach their goal,” she added. She cites the help and support of the Bourdeaux YMCA, where walking and workouts occur. “Many children become obese by picking up bad habits from their parents,” Dr. Feagins continued. “We trying to break the cycle with our program and change lifestyles. We help the patients become health conscious, and they pass down that concern to their children.”
Dr. Feagins has been a Nashvillian since 1996, arriving here from Los Angeles. But she began her career in another field. Dr. Feagins graduated from the University of Southern California in 1992, and was a middle school teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District three years. However medicine had always attracted her. However Dr. Feagins initially studied a year of dentistry at USC. After seeing material about Meharry and coming for a visit, Feagins says she fell in love with the school and city. Internal medicine was her area of specialty.
By the time she completed her degree in 2001, Feagins had also met her husband Edwin Sr. The couple now not only work together at Feagins Medical Group, but are proud parents of three children, Edwin Jr., Sabria and Edgerin. Feagins has recently written a book for young people, “Poems For My Children,” which was published earlier this year. In addition to maintaining the practice, Dr. Feagins will soon begin additional medical work at Tennessee State University, where she’ll be the team doctor for women’s sports. If that wasn’t enough, she’ll be helping train and prepare nurse practioners coming to her practice from Vanderbilt and TSU to gain practical experience and knowledge.
Despite a hectic and full schedule, Dr. Feagins has impressive long-term goals in mind as well. These include getting fulltime nurse practioners, building her own medical office one day, and continuing to provide a wide range of medical services to the community at what she envisions as a “one-stop, full service wellness center.”
“But for now,” she says, preparing to see several patients Edwin Sr. lets her know are outside in the waiting room, “I’m very happy and fulfilled with my practice and family.”