Member of the Month: Rebecca Hart, MD
League City doc enjoys evolving practice
Dr. Hart received her medical degree from UT Southwestern in Dallas, then completed a residency at Baylor Houston. She started her career as a family doc in La Grange, Texas, where she practiced full obstetrics. She says practicing in OB, especially performing cesarean sections, made her fearless as a physician.
Were you inspired by anyone?
I entered academics at UT Houston with Dr. Roland Goertz at the helm. He taught me so much about family medicine that made a difference to my career, as he too had started as a small town rural doctor in Smithville, and moved into academics. Very involved in the politics of medicine in TAFP, he inspired me to get involved. Then came Dr. Carlos Moreno as another great mentor, also inspiring me to move forward in TAFP, STFM, and eventually AAFP work. But probably the most influential person to me was Grant Fowler, who was like a big brother to me in the early years. When I wasn’t sure of the direction of my career, he reassured me and helped me understand and think about the path I was taking. Thanks Grant!
Why did you choose family medicine, and what’s your favorite aspect of it?
I chose family medicine to be able to constantly learn from every case. I could not be limited by one specialty. Everything fascinates me. I spent years in the obstetrics field, totally awed by pregnancy and childbirth. I love the challenge of every patient. I see them all as a puzzle. Someone asked me the other day, “Did you see any interesting patients today?” I answered, “They’re ALL interesting!” And they really are! I especially enjoy figuring out the puzzles people bring me in the form of unusual symptoms. I love finding out what is the matter and helping them get better. I feel like Inspector Clousseau with a big magnifying glass. This is what I try to teach my students too. Enjoy seeing patients, they bring such joy. Enjoy the puzzles they bring, and the journey of discovery. I guess I love the aspect of finding out. I love difficult cases.
Describe your practice.
I have a wonderful practice in League City, a suburban area south of Houston. I practice with two other physicians, Jack Janoe and Gauri Dayal. Our close knit practice is very homey and comfortable for our patients who know our emphasis on taking time with our patients. We offer lots of other ancillary services like PT and stress testing. We focus on healthy lifestyles, exercise, and the proper diet. We offer weight loss services with Ideal Protein. Located across the street from the largest fitness center in the area, we are lucky to have a population of patients that seem motivated to stay healthy. My particular practice is centered on women’s health and keeping hormones balanced as we age, especially in the menopause years. Because I am a teacher at heart, I spend most of my time teaching patients about their bodies and how to keep them youthful and feeling good as they age.
What is the most interesting/memorable experience you have had when dealing with a patient?
Just the other day I found a note on my desk after lunch. It said, “Sorry I missed you. I wanted to thank you for ordering the MRI. It saved my life.” Believe me, it just doesn’t get any better than that. We found her brain tumor.
How do you make a difference in family medicine and in your community?
I try to offer unique care in a different way. I find my practice is specializing into the type of care I always dreamed of giving. Spending quality time with each patient, focusing on their issues, and finding the answers to the puzzles they bring makes each day a joy to go to work. People find out about this and tell their friends. I sometimes wonder if there’s anyone in the community I haven’t seen! That is extremely satisfying to me.
The most important resource I find TAFP offers me is:
Networking is key. In order to get things done in this state, we have to know people. Getting together with my fellow passionate family medicine doctors through the years, understanding the issues that affect us, actually working on them and proposing and making changes to move medicine forward has been so enriching over the years. I remember our efforts in tort reform 15 years ago, and now the efforts surrounding Direct Primary Care. Tom Banning has made a tremendous difference for us at the capitol, and keeps all of us connected to our legislators. Being involved in making legislative changes that matter for private practice and for academic funding has been tremendously important to me for family medicine.
Why did you get involved in TAFP business?
My first encounter with TAFP was from my partner Tom Miller, MD, in my very first year in the real world. We both attended the Winter Symposium to get to know our families in a relaxing setting. After that meeting, I was hooked. Since then I became more and more involved as I moved into academics, I joined the academic affairs commission and the CME commission, eventually giving talks on a regular basis. Now, in private practice, I find myself drawn to the more political aspects to assure private practice stays alive and well in Texas.
How do you spend your free time?
With my husband mostly. He’s a chemist, so we enjoy hours of conversation about chemistry, medicine, but also politics and economics. I also spend a lot of time raising my dogs, dabbling in interior design, playing the piano, going to the theater, ballet, and symphony, and oil painting for relaxation. I also love visiting with my children and encouraging them in their young careers. They are all so amazing and accomplished, and I am so proud of them.
Tell me something fun (unrelated to medicine) about yourself.
I enjoy several hobbies for my time off. Most recently, I have begun to learn composing, and spend hours at the piano and the computer. My latest piece is "Drake’s Lullaby," a piece I composed for the newest member of our family, my grandnephew, Drake, born last month!
TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (512) 329-8666. View past Members of the Month here.