05-08-2021  12:16 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
by BOTWC Staff
Published: 28 April 2021

Dr. Margaret Towolawi is a board-certified family physician, working for over a decade, servicing children and adults in the Seattle area. She has offered many services, including women's health, chronic disease management, and gender-affirming care. For years, Dr. Towolawi worked for a large medical practice, eventually leaving due to extreme burnout. She then decided to open her facility, the Nurture Wellness Center, the state's first Black-owned direct primary care center.

"After close to eight years, I found myself burned out with over 2,000 patients assigned to my patient panel. Opening a direct primary care practice, with a focus on lifestyle medicine, has been my personal solution to addressing many of the problems within the traditional healthcare setting for physicians and patients alike," Dr. Towolawi told reporters. 

Through direct primary care, patients can pay a low monthly membership rate for unlimited visits without copays. Her goal was to provide standard primary care while incorporating a wellness model, allowing for one-hour appointment times instead of the traditional 15 mins. She also sends patients a monthly wellness newsletter, relaxation massages at a discount rate, webinars centered around wellness, and a walking program. Soon, Dr. Towolawi will also be rolling out virtual exercise classes. Her efforts are all in service of providing better, more nuanced care to patients who have otherwise not received it.

"Doctors are overworked with not enough time to care for their patients or themselves frankly."

"You simply cannot pour from an empty cup. I specifically opened up Nurture Wellness Center for anyone who has felt let down by the traditional healthcare system," she said. 

In addition to her lifestyle services, Dr. Towolawi also launched SkinStatMD, a practice focusing solely on treating skin matters in Black and Brown patients, including acne, eczema, fungal infections, hyperpigmentation, and hair loss. Her biggest obstacle has been educating locals about direct primary care and how they can benefit from it.

She is currently working on growing her team and bringing on more patients with a max goal of 200 patients at a time. She spoke about what's next for Nurture Wellness Center, saying, "Things have been going well...The plan is to get to a full panel so that we can have our core members and shift to provide more programming. Ultimately with a full panel, we can spend less time on marketing and even more time on patient care which is always the main goal."

This article was originally posted on Because of Them We Can

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