Dr. Faye Golden specialized in chiropractic rehabilitation, headache management and more before moving to Liberia to provide healthcare to the needy.
BY INDHIRA SUERO ACOSTA, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – Dr. Faye Golden is a medical entrepreneur. She owns the Dove Chiropractic Medicine, Inc. where she offers chiropractic care and provides alternative medicine services for pain management. Recently she put her practice on hold to travel to Liberia with her nonprofit, Dove Love, Inc., where she is now providing health care to the needy in Monrovia.
Dr. Golden always knew that she wanted to be a physician. When trying to decide what kind of doctor she wanted to be, someone told her to figure out the kind of patients that she wanted to work with.
She realized that she wanted to see patients looking to solve their health issues, not just people searching for a Band-Aid® for their problems.
One aspect she enjoyed when becoming a physician was learning that there are many ways to treat and help people heal, all without the use of harsh and toxic substances.
As an undergraduate student, the doctor was a toxicology and pharmacology biomedical research scholar at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. She earned her doctorate of chiropractic medicine from Life University in Marietta, Ga., and was the recipient of their scholarship program with research on the reduction of hypertension through noninvasive and no pharmacological methods.
Doctors of chiropractic medicine are first preventative medicine doctors. They provide prevention, wellness and primary care. Unfortunately, most people associate chiropractic medicine with car accidents and neck and back pain.
According to Dr. Golden, even when they are the best at addressing those issues, they are preventative and holistic physicians.
She feels that African-American women are sparsely represented as doctors of chiropractic medicine. One of the main challenges confronted by Dr. Golden—when deciding to pursue a degree in chiropractic medicine—was that the profession requires costly advanced academic training.
“The typical costs for an undergrad and graduate school combined hovers around $200,000,” she said.
However, it’s not a matter of being able to take out student loans to pay for your tuition, room, and books, she said, but to pursue a degree requires a strict sense of courage to go forward and to overcome the academic hurdle.
After earning her degree, she was confronted with the fact that the majority of chiropractic physicians were self-employed. Apart from being doctors, they need to learn to be CEOs and business people responsible for running a healthcare organization.
“When you bear that responsibility, and you’re coming in with a large amount of student loans, and when you come from an ethnic background, it’s very difficult to open a practice.”
When in St. Pete, Dr. Golden hopes to shorten the learning curve with other minorities interested in becoming business owners by taking part in the Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corp.’s CATCH small business program. The 15-week business program is designed to train business owners in areas specializing in all aspects of business, monthly mentoring and access to a CPA on site.
In her healthcare practice, she not only experienced the joy of being able to provide health care to her patients but also working with a top-notch team: three physicians, one nurse practitioner and a front office employee that all work hard to make the clinic successful.
The team also served smaller assisted and independent living facilities that tend to lack resources to give a variety of healthcare to their patients and personnel.
Since so many people received healthcare at her clinic and were unable to pay, she was forced to close her doors.
“Clinics require money to keep the doors open, and underserved patients often cannot afford the care. Ultimately, the clinic did not receive enough support from stakeholders with the financial means to keep the service in the community,” she said.
Aside from caring for the needy in Monrovia, Liberia, she helps raise money to support the College of Science and Allied Health at the African Methodist Episcopal University.
Church and community
As a part of Mt. Zion AME Port Tampa Women’s Missionary Society, Dr. Golden has a mandate for service and outreach to the community. While her office was open, she tried to translate her work in the church to her own practice by providing healthcare services with missionary outreach. She offered free vitamins and sleeping bags for the homeless, among other benefits.
For her, the hardest aspect of being a doctor is trying to help everyone.
“You want to see people live and not die, but at the end of the day patients have autonomy, and they have the right to choose. You have to respect when a patient makes a choice,” Dr. Golden said. “All you can do as a doctor is to get up, tell your patients the truth, deliver what they need and pray that they make a choice to live and not die.”
What Dr. Golden misses most about St. Pete is talking long walks downtown on the waterfront. She loves the extraordinary amount of diversity here with both natives and transplants.
With such a mix of communities of varying interests, backgrounds, beliefs and religious perspectives, it’s a crucial detail to respect. She said as a doctor, you can find yourself falling into a very narrow approach to a community, which is very dangerous being a healthcare provider.
She can see a connection between St. Pete and Monrovia in that both cities have a diverse economic population.
“The population is one million. There is a lot of poverty mixed in with wealth. Similar to St. Pete, you can find really nice homes in proximity to low-income housing areas,” she said, adding that both cities’ social circles revolve around the church and family.
For women in St. Pete and in Monrovia, she recommends that they be relentless in their pursuits of health and financial stability because no one will care about them more than they care about themselves.
This story is part of a 50-article series honoring black women in the Tampa Bay area.