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Dr.Christina Hector, DO

Dr. Christina Hector, DO Board Certified in Sports Medicine and Family Medicine.


Today we are delighted to interview Dr Christina Hector, DO, cofounder of Onyx Direct Care located on Prospect Ave, West Orange, NJ. Dr Hector is a Sports Medicine and Family Medicine specialist. We will learn about what a Doctor of Osteopathy is and what a DPC- direct primary care practice is.

Dr.Christina Hector, DO

UzimaOne Nutrition Podcast #5 – HOST: Lisa Neal

Lisa Neal: Hello, today we’re here with Dr. Christina Hector, founder and co-owner of Onyx Direct Care in West Orange, NJ. Hello, how are you doing today?

Dr. Christina: I’m great, thank you for having me.

Lisa Neal: It’s our pleasure, it’s my pleasure. I’m going to start right in with the questions. First question; why did you become a doctor?

Dr. Christina: I was that child at the age of 5 or 6 when my parents asked me. What do you want to be when you grow up? I told them a Doctor. Now of course at that age, I didn’t know exactly what it entailed but I knew I liked to help people and I liked healing people, I liked playing doctor with my cousins.  As I went through Junior High School and High School I became more intrigued and fascinated with the human body, the anatomy of the human body, how it functions and I knew before I went to college that this was the profession I wanted to go into. So I guess you could say it was my calling.

Lisa Neal: Great. Ok. What is your specialty?

Dr. Christina: I specialize in Family Medicine and sports medicine. After four years of college, I did four years of medical school then I did 3 years of family medicine. I love family medicine because you actually get to treat the whole family. From the babies, to the children, all the way up to the grandparents. And I love the diversity of that profession. Now in Junior High School, all the way up to College I was a track athlete. I didn’t know about sports medicine in college, I learned about that during medical school and just combining the two, just made a great fit for me.

Lisa Neal: Ok, good. Interesting! Now could you explain, because you talked a little bit about family medicine is, but what is sports medicine?

Dr. Christina: Yes. So after my residency, I did one year of fellowship in what’s called The Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship. This is a specialty where I’m able to treat athletes of all ages. I’ve had patients as young as my six year old gymnast, all the way to my 80 year old with osteoarthritis. So I do non-surgical Musculoskeletal Treatment.

Lisa Neal: Good. Interesting, How does your profession Positively Impact People?

Dr. Christina: As a Physician I’m here to serve, I’m here to heal and I’m also here to teach. And my goal is to help patients live a healthier lifestyle.

Lisa Neal: Ok. Good. Tell the listening audience about your practice.

Dr. Christina:  Yes, so I am the co-owner and founder of Onyx Direct Care, with my partner, Dr. Lamont Mitchell. Onyx Direct Care is a direct primary care practice and what a direct primary care practice is, is a model or practice that allows you to have direct contact with your doctor. For the equivalent of a monthly cell phone bill, you can receive direct primary care tailored to your individual needs. In this model, you have increased access to your doctor via email, telemedicine, texting, increased visits. You also have increased time with your doctor. Generally our visits are 30 to 60 minutes each. And you also get same day or next day visits with your doctor for acute or urgent care needs. Now this type of practice is great for all patients. Patients with high deductible insurance, patients that have no insurance, small business owners who are looking for a twenty forms of health care for their employees or patients who are looking to have more time, more access with their doctor. At Onyx, we focus on the whole person; we focus on preventive care, chronic illness management, muscle skeleton injuries, nutrition counseling, lifestyle counseling and exercise medicine.

Lisa Neal: Wow that sounds great.

Dr. Christina: I also want to add, at Onyx, you get the benefit of having two double board certified physicians. I am double board certified in family medicine and sports medicine and Dr. Lamont Mitchell, he is double board certified in emergency medicine and family medicine. So I’m very excited about our practice and what we are able to offer our patients.

Lisa Neal: Sounds like a great combination.

Dr. Christina: Yes and I would like to take the credit for creating it, but I didn’t create it. This is a model that’s been gaining recognition worldwide and it came about a group of doctors that wanted to offer their patients more than what the traditional medical system is offering them. And working in the traditional medical system, I also, you know was in a system where I could only provide my patient with 15 minute visits. And I didn’t have time to provide them with the comprehensive care, I think they deserved.  So this is a great model that I believe will continue to grow and will help better the health and wellness of patients. I would like it to become a norm and I think in the future that’s where we are headed. In this model, the direct primary care model of practice, what we actually do is take out the insurance companies and by doing that, we now bring back that patient to doctor relationship. Where you have direct access to your doctor and your doctor can make decisions on your health, not based on what insurance will cover.

Lisa Neal: Working under the constraints of the insurance system and very limited time allotment. The time never really seems enough, meant that taking even closed to the time that is needed sometimes, means a long wait in my office. I think patients appreciated the fact that you were taking the time to get to know them better and really listen to what they have to say. So I think this is an interesting model. I have a question, for a patient who does not have insurance and is seen by you or the other doctor in your practice, who needs to be hospitalized.  Do you have relationships with hospitals in the area or how does that work?

Dr. Christina: In the direct primary care model, we encourage patients to have some form of insurance and we call it catastrophe insurance or some patients have health based insurance or health based network insurance, so we do encourage patients to have insurance for the times they need to be hospitalized.  The one thing we do in the direct primary care is advocate for the patients. I don’t have a direct relationship with the hospital, but having more time with the patient and having more time to provide the patient with a more comprehensive care allows me to make that extra phone call to specialist, to surgeons and see if they have a price set aside for patients that don’t have insurance.  By all means if you have to go to the hospital because of your health, we’re going to send you to the hospital, but we are also able to advocate on your behalf if you don’t have insurance and see if you can get the best price for healthcare for you.

Lisa Neal: Ok. Good. If you could talk a little bit about the importance of face to face contact with your patients?

Dr. Christina: Yes, it is very important for me to provide my patients with adequate time, just like you were saying in your office, even if you had to take that extra 10 to 15 minutes with your patient, you want to make sure that the care that you’re providing them, the treatment that you’re providing them is complete. Which is why in our practice we are providing our patients with 30 to 60 minute visits that they need to make sure that my assessment, my plan, my treatment plan for that patient is complete and that patients are able to ask their questions and have their questions and concerns answered. This is all about teaching and that’s another part about being a physician, we are also her to teach our patients about health and wellness and how to maintain it with programs like this podcast and other community programs out there I hope to get involved and be able to continue to teach that. Health is not a quick fix and to be healthy you have to see your doctor’s regularly, get your regular schedule screenings with your physician. And also when I see my patients in the office, I always take time out to discuss with them how best to maintain their health and incorporate lifestyle modifications and incorporate nutritional counseling, incorporate exercise medicine, everything that goes along with wellness.

Lisa Neal:  What is the most important lesson your patients learn from you?

Dr. Christina:  This goes back to teaching; I make a priority to teach my patients the importance of being well informed about their health. I believe patients who are well informed are able to make better decisions concerning their health. I encourage my patients to know their medical diagnosis, to know their medications. Even if you don’t know your medications, I know some of them are very hard to pronounce, but have them written down and to keep track of your health progress. For patients, this is your health and you have to be proactive and you have to be involved.

Frederick Neal: That’s correct. The thing to get across to a lot of people, the importance of making that connection,

keeping that connection, building the foundation that needs to be built and establishing a relationship with the necessary people who are qualified to provide answers, to provide treatment. And this is one of the things that I try also, in my studio. To explain to all the clients that I see and people that I talk to in general, the importance of seeking out qualified individuals and then when you do, you’ll normally find someone who is willing to explain to you, after they have assessed you and they know what your situation is, they can tell you what needs to happen next and why that needs to happen next; and take you along the process of that. So I think that’s very, very important. How do you in the treatment process with the sports medicine. Do you have particular advice for people with children who are playing sports, we have a lot of children that are playing soccer; we have a lot of kids that are getting involved in contact sports. And then we have a lot of the weekend champions, who want to go out and play basketball and play touch football. What kind of advice do you give to clients in this settings with kids and adults who are very active on the weekends like this, to mature their safe participation in these events?

Dr. Christina: Well the first advice is that all children participating in sports should have their yearly sports physical completed. And this sports physicals are very important because one, our goal is to keep your child healthy and make sure there’s no medical conditions, that can one, cause your child harm while they are out there, doing what they enjoy to do. So that’s the main advice.  There are many times we would pick up on a possible medical condition or a possible abnormality, where we would go further and refer this child to the appropriate specialists, whether that’d be a cardiologist, if we believe that this may be a heart condition. So that is upmost importance.  The other importance is conditioning and stretching. I know that we have a lot of young soccer players who play multiple matches in a day and 5 matches in a weekend. But stretching and conditioning is very important, not only for our older athletes, but especially for our younger athletes and staying hydrated is also very important. And with staying hydrated I always say, it’s not the day off that we start drinking water, but you have to stay hydrated on a daily basis. And professional athletes I think know that, but our little ones need the parents to be on top of that, in making sure they’re staying hydrated and they’re eating healthy, so they can go out and do what they enjoy doing.

Lisa Neal: What are your thoughts on why there are so many medical treatments on your profession and yet the American public is less fit than it was 20 years ago?

Dr. Christina: Well, I have to say we have made great advancement in medical treatment that has helped many people and saved many lives. I believe that we also have to increase focus on preventative medicine. Many chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease for example can be prevented by, like we talked about, seeing your doctor on a regular basis and getting regular health screenings, eating healthy, exercising, incorporating a healthy lifestyle. If we increase the focus on preventative medicine, I think we would start to see a shift were people are becoming more active and fit and a change in their health.

Lisa Neal: What do you see our obstacles to promoting health and wellness?

Dr. Christina:  One of the obstacles I see is what I call the quick fix syndrome. Everyone wants a quick fix. Just give me my Z-pack and I’ll be on my way, just give me my pills for my weight loss, I just want this surgery and health and wellness is not a quick fix, you have to, like we said before, maintain your health and I believe wellness is a journey. It may not be easy for some, but it’s rewarding for all. If you’re healthy, you take less medications or none at all. You have less joint pain, you are able to be more active, you sleep better at night and I can go on and on about the benefits of maintaining your health and wellness, that you cannot get with a quick fix.

Lisa Neal: What kind of obstacles have you come across in trying to establish your practice?

Dr. Christina:  I’m not sure if I would call it an obstacle, but it’s a challenge, because our practice is a different model, it’s introducing and teaching the public of a different way to practice medicine. Especially where, is not insurance based and patients have to pay a monthly fee for their health.  So explaining that can be a challenge, but I believe, once patients understand what they’re receive, what the service that are being offered by direct primary care, compared to the traditional practice of medicine, then patients are interested to learn more.

Frederick Neal: Is almost like what’s happening now is that this program, it looks like, is really going back to the way medicine was. There was no middle man between you and your doctor and that is exactly what this sounds more like. I need a doctor, I have someone I go see and make a phone call and I go see them. You know, I don’t need to talk to someone else and say; Can I go see this person or not?

Dr. Christina: I agree, is the old way in a new time, because now we have some technologies that can help us better serve our patients.

Frederick Neal: And that is true, with the technology that we have now, it’s really amazing how we can use it to stay in touch with the client, to monitor their vitals, to keep abreast of what type of activities they’re doing and to immediately, in real time a lot of time, with some of the programs that are used today, to advice the client when they are not doing enough or when they are doing too much. In your practice, do you advice or counsel a lot on nutritional aspects for kids when you find they’re really into sports or adults who are the weekend warriors? Do you advise on nutrition a lot, do you find yourself in positions having to do that?

Dr. Christina: I do advise on nutrition, when I see all patients, but specifically athletes and weekend warriors, we have to talk about nutrition and hydration. Especially with some young athletes, with female athletes that may not be eating enough, we have to talk about nutrition. It’s all encompassing, we have to talk about nutrition and we also have to talk about your general health. I have athletes who have diabetes type 1, so we have to, when we’re treating that athlete, we have to consider that into the treatment plan, so it’s treating the whole person and we have to consider nutrition, we have to consider any medical problems they have and also we do consider any mental health that they have, any mental blockage that may be preventing them from achieving their goals in sports. So we try to make it all comprehensive and treat the whole person.

Frederick Neal: That’s good I think that’s the way all medicine should be from a foundational standpoint that we have to look at the whole person.


470 Prospect Ave Suite 302, West Orange, NJ 07052

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