When looking for a patient-centered, community-focused area in which to practice medicine, Heather Woodin found the perfect match at Family Clinic in Bridgeport.
The Corpus Christi native relocated to the seclusion of western Wise County just a couple of months after graduating from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth to begin her practice as a physician’s assistant for Dr. Denise Casper at the beginning of August.
“The face of medicine is changing,” Woodin said. “But here at the Family Clinic, it’s patient-centered medicine. It’s the kind of medicine I’ve dreamt of practicing – patient-centered, holistic and with an opportunity to get to know your patients.”
After finding the physician’s assistant position posting on her school’s website, Woodin trekked in for an interview.
In a town and county she’d never heard of, she found her preference of practice embodied by Casper.
“When I met Dr. Casper and saw her practice, I fell in love with how she took care of her patients and how she worked with my staff,” Woodin said. “I knew this was the place I wanted to start.”
In her start and with mutual practice styles, Woodin has found a mentor with who she collaborates seamlessly.
“As a physician’s assistant, your team relationship with your physician is important,” Woodin said. “It’s vital to your ability to work together. I see patients on my own, but I constantly consult Dr. Casper. We go back and forth all day.”
As Casper’s first physician’s assistant, Woodin is used to reach out and accommodate additional patients.
“Basically, my point in being here is to have more access to the office, and we really hope patients notice the difference in their ability to get an appointment,” she said. “I also speak Spanish, so I try to reach out to Spanish-speaking patients. I like to try. It adds a positive thing to my practice.”
Working in a family clinic, Woodin is exposed to a wide range of patients from sick children and adults, to scheduled visits for routine lab work and medication changes to acute sport injuries, well-woman/man exams and X-rays.
And although she enjoys helping all patients, her interests are more specific.
“I really like the variety I see in family practice,” she said. “Specifically, I’m interested in the maintenance issues such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and gynecological issues – helping young women make healthy choices and others prepare for menopausal symptoms.”
In her pursuit of a lifelong dream to help others, Woodin misses her family and friends spread across the state – including her parents Marc and Chris back home in Corpus Christi and sister Amber in veterinary school at Texas A&M (where Woodin earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry).
However, she finds consolation in an embracing community she doesn’t plan on leaving for a while.
“I’ve never met such friendly people,” she said. “Everyone is so willing to help. I don’t think I’ve met a stranger since I’ve been here. I really like this area of Texas and its people, so I do see myself in this area for a long time.”