Hillside Health Center Welcomes Pediatrician, Dr. Danielle Dixon
Hillside Health Center is pleased to welcome pediatrician Dr. Danielle Dixon, who joined the team because she feels her background, training, and experience put her in a unique position to care for the pediatric patients she most wants to help, those who are most vulnerable.
Originally from a small town in Ohio, Dr. Dixon first earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Ohio State University. She then went on to pursue a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Thereafter, she attended medical school at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and completed a pediatric internship and residency in Tulsa, Oklahoma, graduating last month to become the first doctor in her family.
Her path has not been easy, but she did not waiver from it.
“I come from humble beginnings,” she said. As the daughter of a single mother who was on welfare for a time, Dr. Dixon had to earn academic scholarships to pay for college. She says her mother, now an educator, showed her how to overcome adversity through hard work and perseverance—and she took those lessons to heart.
Dr. Dixon is now ready to put her medical training to good use. She believes physical, emotional, and spiritual health are inextricably linked, and plans to draw on her education as a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) to take a humanistic approach to patient care.
“D.O.’s look at the whole patient,” she said, explaining that her focus is less about medicating a health problem and more about understanding its underlying causes, so she can help prevent it from recurring.
And she chose pediatrics because kids are so honest, allowing her to get right to the heart of the problem and making her work more fulfilling.
“If a kid says, ‘It hurts,’ it hurts. What you see is what you get,” she said. And she knows that while many of us, as parents, struggle to find time to care for ourselves, most of us will do all we can to care for our children. She also chose pediatrics because she can start with clean slates, helping patients employ healthy habits from a young age rather than trying to address problems and patterns after they have become more established.
“With pediatrics, you can start from the day the child is born—not overfeeding, for example. It’s easier to set patterns early,” she said. For children already struggling with obesity, she hopes to start an after-school weight loss program.
Dr. Dixon looks forward to treating a wide variety of patients, and believes she will be able to relate to those who have struggled with racial prejudice and poverty. As an African American woman, she understands what it is to be in the minority, and having grown up in a family she describes as “working poor,” she hopes she can serve as an example of how hard work and pursuing your dreams can help people overcome life’s challenges.
She is especially interested in serving as a role model to encourage children to work hard in school, rather than on the basketball court or football field. She said many of the children she has worked with are part of families in which no one has ever attended college, and some did not finish high school.
“For many minority youth, it is a hard concept to grasp to see a minority physician,” she said.
She called Hillside Health Center a place with “good energy and a collaborative atmosphere” and is eager to begin seeing patients in Ukiah because she says everyone she has met so far is welcoming and genuine. Hillside offers medical, dental and behavioral health care to youth and teens, and the pediatric care is a natural continuation of the obstetrical care provided by Hillside’s Care for Her program.
Hillside Health Center is part of the MCHC family of care, offering health care to people in Ukiah, Willits and Lakeport. It is a local non-profit organization providing access to health care for all. Learn more at www.mchcinc.org or call 707-468-1010 for an appointment.