Time is the Essence of the Practice.
Words by Jessica Devenyns Photos by Leah Muse
As she sits neatly folded onto her chair, hair perfectly quaffed into place, Dr. Clark-Brown’s voice suddenly breaks with passion, shattering the veneer of a medical practitioner and revealing the face of a caretaker.
“I’m not going to see patients every ten minutes. I put them 15, sometimes 30. But I am of the school that if patients come to us, they entrust us with their lives. Why should we rush them through like lab rats? Why shouldn’t we take the time to listen to them and talk to them and explain what is going on? Why are you taking this medicine? What are the side effects of this medicine? And then, also offer them the opportunity to take something natural.”
Patient education and natural remedies are the cornerstones that support the care-oriented approach at the clinic. “If you can teach your patient how to change their diet, how to increase their hydration, how to pull away some of those things that are toxic to their body, we can change them on their own.” Dr. Clark-Brown reveals that she herself even practices what she preaches. “If I went to see a doctor, how would I want to be treated? So I treat [patients] how I would want to be treated. I wouldn’t want someone to shuffle me through like a number.”
Indeed, the likelihood that you would become a simple number in these offices is small. As she speaks, Dr. Clark-Brown has a knack for making you feel like you are conversing with a long-time confidant instead of listing off your woes to a physician. “I like to get to know my patients,” she states as if it could be no other way, “I’m thankful I’m here on my own and I can spend my time on my patients without someone hovering over me. Yes, it causes a struggle because I’m not reimbursed as well, but I’m doing what I went to medical school for. I’m doing what feels right in my heart.”
Following her heart is what led Dr. Clark-Brown to open up a clinic walking distance from the home that she grew up in. “I grew up in east Austin so I wanted to give back to the community that gave so much to me,” she explains simply.
In 2009 when she and two of her nurses opened up Clark-Brown Family Care Clinic, they operated with a cash-only policy. Since then they have expanded to include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medication, and lymphatic massage services.
To explain her conviction that the best way to practice medicine is by working in tandem with more natural remedies, Dr. Clark-Brown drops her voice to a whisper and admits, “I don’t take medicine unless I really have to.” Clearly, the blending of East meets West is a point of pride at this clinic. “I believe in acupuncture. I believe in herbal medicine. I believe in natural stuff.” At the mention of natural stuff, her head acupuncturist Anne Cusick chimes in to agree, “I believe everything works. I believe a patient should be given many options to explore, to feel better in their bodies.” The combination works especially well, Anne says, for pain management. “With pain management, the healing time is faster than if you just do pharmaceuticals, and that’s just masking the problem.”
They both emphasize that at the clinic, caring enough to find a solution that does not involve writing a script is the goal. “It’s not all about pulling out a prescription pad and putting a Band-Aid on top of it,” Dr. Clark-Brown insists. “It’s about getting to the root of the problem—finding out what’s the cause, how can we change it, how can we fix it, how can we prevent it from happening again.”
Her eyes gleam with pride as she insists that this is why she opened her own practice. “I am able to come back and serve the community that I grew up in, and I’m glad that I am able to be the physician that I wanted to be. I don’t have to rush my patients though. I can actually sit down. I can talk to my patients… Because that’s who I am. I love to teach, I love to educate, and I want to help. I feel with this practice here, I have the autonomy to do that.”
In addition to Western medicine, Clark-Brown Family Care Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbs, cupping, lymphatic massage, and moxycustion.
Acupuncture: Using needles to create stimulation at key points on the body, acupuncture is able to restore the balance of the body’s energy system and alleviate any issues that are caused by imbalances in the system.
Chinese herbs: Chinese medicine, like Western medicine, is able to help with many different ailments, but because of natural ingredients, toxins do not build up in the body as a side effect.
Cupping: Cupping is detoxifying, which helps drain the lymphatic system and relieve muscle tension.
Lymphatic massage: This massage technique works to detoxify the body and adjust imbalances in the body. This is a good option for those with underlying medical conditions because it is non-invasive.
Moxybustion: Moxybustion is a warming therapy. It’s a good way to balance the body with warm and cold. It is great for pain management.
2113 East MLK Jr. Blvd.