Treating Physical Problems with Spiritual Solutions


 

Danika Yvette Hickman, MD is a pro when it comes to wearing a variety of hats. Not only is she a physician, she’s a wife, mother, author, chaplain, public speaker, radio show host… and the list goes on.

But juggling multiple roles doesn’t bother Hickman in the least. In fact, she thrives on it. Furthermore, she considers her busy life an intricately interwoven pattern of blessings bestowed on her by a loving Creator.

“It all fits in,” she said. “One thing extends into another, and it all goes together. The overriding theme of my life is just to do God’s will. I balance everything with God.”

A Board Certified Family Practice Physician, Hickman believes that addressing a patient’s spiritual condition along with his or her physical condition is a major key to effective treatment.  

“You have to get to the spiritual root,” she said. “I often ask a patient, ‘what’s going on in your home? What’s going on in your heart?’ Then I can understand a lot about what’s going on with their health.”

Until recently, Hickman was exploring these issues with patients in Bessemer, where she’s been practicing for the past 10 years. But as of December 1st, she became affiliated with St. Vincent’s Family Care Office in Trussville.

Before becoming a physician, Hickman initially considered pediatrics as a specialty but ultimately chose family medicine. Though her special interests are adolescent medicine and women’s health, she’s also interested in the role family history plays in health and how that information can be used to protect patients from diseases for which they genetically inclined.

For instance, if a patient’s history includes several family members with hypertension or diabetes, Hickman may recommend steps that can be taken to avoid letting associated factors like stress, weight or diet get out of hand.

“You see different patterns and themes in families, and I’ve always wanted to help the different generations,” she said. “I’ve had up to four generations in the same family under my care.”

Hickman also seeks to gain an understanding of how an individual’s community life can affect one’s health and has thus cultivated an interest in addressing societal ills such as domestic violence. She regularly serves as a speaker at women’s and youth events, and often seeks out opportunities to become otherwise involved in combatting physical problems with spiritual solutions.

Author of Fountain in the Valley, a book that ties together the spiritual and physical aspects of medicine, Hickman showed early signs of high achievement when she was named a National Merit Scholar and became valedictorian of her class at Fairfield High School. She later became salutatorian of her class at Jackson State University in Mississippi.

Hickman went on to graduate from UAB School of Medicine and opted for St. Vincent’s East Family Medicine Residency Program due to its focus on the spiritual aspects of treatment. 

“It’s unusual for doctors to tie the physical and spiritual aspects together, but it helps me minister to my patients,” she said. “I love to do that. I love mixing the physical and the spiritual, and I was taught during my residency to pray with my patients.”

Given her gentle demeanor and approach to medical care, it’s hardly surprising that Hickman was named one of Birmingham’s Most Caring Doctors by B-Metro magazine in 2014. Pursuant to online patient voting, she earned a Patient’s Choice Award in 2013 and Compassionate Doctor Recognition in 2012 and 2013. She was named Bessemer Doctor of the Year in 2015 and is the recipient of a WOW (Wonderful Outstanding Woman) award in medicine from the Birmingham Chapter of the NAACP.

Recently featured on ABC 33/40’s Talk of Alabama, Hickman hosts a weekly Internet-based call-in radio show called “What Up, Doc?” on radioairjesus.com.

“People from all over the world call in,” she said.

Hickman has been married to her college sweetheart for 20 years, and they have two children. She is currently writing a second book.

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