Featured Osteopathic Family Physician:
Anastasia Benson, DO

Anastasia “Staci” Benson, DO, grew up in Prosper, a suburb of Dallas, as one of five children. Her parents, who owned a business at the time, worked hard to meet copays and deductibles for the family’s healthcare needs. As a child, she noted how the healthcare system put a strain on some families’ finances like hers. This realization helped shape her vision of health care and what type of physician she wanted to become.

Dr. Benson graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in biology. She earned a master’s degree in health psychology from Texas State University.

She then went onto the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine and then completed her family medicine residency at Methodist Charlton in Dallas. While at Arizona COM, she was the school’s ACOFP President. She was also the ACOFP National Student Executive Board Secretary.

Dr. Benson has served as the ACOFP Resident Governor, Chair of the ACOFP Direct Primary Care SIG, and attended the ACOFP Future Leaders Conference. She has been a member of the ACOFP Women Health and Leadership Committee, Membership Committee and New Physicians Committee. She’s also on the board of the ACOFP Texas State Society.

She’s currently the owner of Paradigm Family Health, a direct primary care solo family practice in Dallas. Learn more about Dr. Benson and her practice at paradigmfamilyhealth.com

What kind of person makes the best osteopathic family physician?
An individual who grasps the concepts that form follows function and the action of one system affect another. These general osteopathic principles are very important in family medicine and I believe should be utilized when interacting with every patient because no patient is as simple as a textbook answer. Whether it’s multiple disease processes, nutritional barriers, financial limitations or just general social beliefs – an osteopathic family physician has to be able to take all of these things into account.

What is your best advice for students who are undecided?
What rotation has made you feel the happiest and less stressed? Find the specialty that you feel gives you the work/life balance that YOU want. That answer is different for every individual and requires some self-reflection.

What is your favorite aspect of osteopathic family medicine?
I can see every disease and type of patient under the sun (within reason) or I can narrow the type of patients I see if I have a passion for something. I love that every visit is vastly different and I’m always on my toes and continuing my learning to meet my patient’s needs. I currently own my own direct primary care practice and I love it! I’m able to spend 60min with a patient and can really dive into those other factors that affect health. Plus, I get to do OMT! I did urgent care for 2.5yrs prior to opening my own practice and never felt I was particularly amazing at manipulation, but I’ve actually truly enjoyed being able to fix someone’s joint pain or decrease their sinus pressure. It also makes my patients love me even more when they can walk in with 9 of 10 pain and leave at a 1 or 0 – without any medications.

Why did you go into osteopathic family medicine?
I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Seriously. While I loved probably every single rotation, I found myself bored many days. I loved the idea of taking care of an entire family and working with people to overcome not only medical problems, but also some social/psychological ones that impact their medical problems.

What do you know now in regard to selecting a specialty that you wish you knew when you were an osteopathic medical student?
Find someone is practicing the specialty you want to do – as close to what you want as possible. You want them to have the type of clinic, type of patient, type of payment model, hours working, and personal lifestyle then be frank and ask them what they make. Salaries vary widely in a specialty and while you shouldn’t choose your specialty just on salary, you want to be realistic too.

What qualities should students look for in a mentor and what are some red flags for them to avoid?
Look for someone who WANTS to be a mentor. Not everyone does, obviously. And just because they want to be one, doesn’t mean they’ll be a great mentor. Avoid a mentor that is too busy to send you a quick text back or meet-up for coffee. Many physicians are

What have your mentors taught you?
They’ve taught me good and bad things. They’ve taught me how to interact with patients, how to interact with politicians, how to interact with medical staff. They’ve also taught me how NOT to interact with those people. They’ve passed along their medical knowledge and their little tid bits of how they like to do things. Most importantly, they’ve been honest with me about how I can improve myself.

What specific questions should students ask their mentors?
This is the hardest question. Ask what they hate about their job. Ask about what they love about their job. What would they change in an ideal world if they could. Do they ever consider changing specialties? If so, why?

Published August, 2017