TAFP launches program to recognize outstanding family physicians
Presenting our inaugural Member of the Month: Chrisette Dharma, M.D.
By Monica Kortsha
TAFP is proud to present a new section of QuickInfo and the TAFP website dedicated to honoring outstanding Texas family physicians. Through Member of the Month, your Academy will profile a TAFP member each month who is doing great work to advance family medicine in his or her community. Each article will feature a short biography and question-and-answer section that highlight the unique qualities of the physician.
If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month, nominate the physician by sending his or her name, phone number, and e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org. View the Member of the Month archive here.
Chrisette Dharma, M.D.
Chrisette Dharma, M.D., is a family physician in Dallas, Texas, and has been practicing medicine for 11 years. She is the medical director of Southwest Family Medicine Associates, a group of family doctors that offers a wide variety of services for hospital patients in a NCQA-certified medical home environment. The group strives to keep the patient comfortable and healthy by providing a clinic that “looks and feels like Starbucks on the outside and focuses on wellness on the inside.”
Dharma says that her office’s philosophy is that physicians need to show people good health habits by example, something the practice did last year by organizing DocRun, a 5K race where 20 physicians and nearly 200 patients ran side-by-side to raise money for the American Diabetes Association.
Dharma also manages Alera Physicians business service, a company that teaches practice management and revenue-generating skills to independent family physicians with financially troubled practices so they can “enjoy practicing medicine again.” She says the company has been able to help multiple failing practices.
Dharma was awarded her medical degree by the University of Texas Health Science Center and completed her residency at the St. Paul Family Practice Center. She has two young children and enjoys yoga, scuba, and skiing in her free time.
I choose family medicine because… during medical school it hit all my warm and fuzzy buttons. Being a family doctor was what my mind always visualized when I thought “doctor.” Eleven years later, I still love going to work.
It is important for me to be a member of AAFP and TAFP because… I feel that our Academy is always on the cutting edge, keeping us connected to the latest medical news, congressional issues and helping us run our medical practices. Being a member allows me the opportunity to network with my peers and learn new business ideas. My Academy has helped me have a thriving business.
What is something interesting about your practice? I inherited my practice from an amazing woman named Dr. Fannie Clark who, back in the days of segregation, saw African- American patients. She sold me her practice, charts, equipment, and receivables for $10. The only thing she asked of me was that I take care of her patients.
What are your experiences with advocating on behalf of family medicine? Last year I was president of the Dallas chapter of TAFP, which allowed me to work on a grassroots level to make real-time changes in the political arena that directly impact our practices. We also set up a research program with the University of Texas Southwestern Family Medicine program to showcase statewide research projects in residency programs.