Treating patients like family: Dr. Alison Collins, DO joins WholeLife Authentic Care team
WholeLife Authentic Care provides “an environment where I can practice in accordance with my conscience,” Dr. Alison Collins, DO, told the North Texas Catholic.
WholeLife Authentic Care has been serving the community since fall 2019, mainly providing pro-life OBGYN services both locally and remotely throughout Texas. Coming up on their five-year anniversary, they are celebrating a new milestone — the hire of Dr. Collins, the clinic’s first full-time family medicine provider, who provides holistic treatment informed by her Catholic faith.
“I decided I wanted to be a doctor in seventh grade,” Dr. Collins affirmed. “We were studying anatomy, and we were memorizing all the bones, and I loved it; it was fabulous. I’ve always loved Latin, and biology has always been my favorite.”
Dr. Collins attended Franciscan University of Steubenville as a pre-med student with a minor in theology and participated in their Great Books program because “science in the context of that holistic perspective of the whole person is fascinating.”
A doctor of osteopathic medicine, DO, Dr. Collins holds a more holistic focus than the more common doctor of medicine, MD. During medical school at Michigan State University, DOs and MDs took classes together for the first two years. The DO coursework then followed philosophies centered on treating the whole person, considering their mental health, community support, and more, which Dr. Collins noted is now also starting to be incorporated into MD training.
During Dr. Collins’ residency in Front Royal, Virginia, she was trained in the Creighton Method and NaProTECHNOLOGY, which provides medical treatment that supports women’s menstrual cycles. In Dr. Collins’ “ideal practice,” she would be able to use NaPro treatments in a variety of ways, “not just for fertility.”
Most recently, Dr. Collins was practicing in Jacksonville, Texas, at a CHRISTUS clinic in a rural area.
When she saw the job posting for a family medicine provider at WholeLife Authentic Care on the One More Soul website (www.onemoresoul.com), she reached out and applied for the job. She started working at WholeLife Authentic Care in October 2023.
Nicole Havrilla, president and founder of WholeLife Authentic Care, expressed excitement that “for the first time, WholeLife is able to offer full-time family practice.” Living up to their name, WholeLife is now able to “serve the entire community for their whole life — from birth to well into adulthood,” Havrilla said. “People are having their babies with us on the OBGYN side of the practice, getting to meet Dr. Collins, and then choosing to bring their babies to us for well visits.”
About 30% of WholeLife patients are “financially vulnerable,” according to Havrilla, relying on charitable donations to cover their care. The clinic is pleased to be able to serve those patients on the family medicine side as well. “WholeLife is actively seeking another family medicine physician, a licensed professional Counselor, and an additional OBGYN to join the team in 2024,” added Havrilla.
Beyond her clinical expertise, Dr. Collins brings something important to WholeLife: “a servant’s heart,” said Havrilla. “Serving her fellow colleagues and staff members is just beautiful to behold.”
Dr. Collins has a compassionate approach to patient care. “My general approach is to listen,” she said. “I’m always reminding people doctor [comes from the Latin word for] teacher. And I take that part of my role very seriously.” When patients come to her with their concerns, Dr. Collins is careful to educate them about the risks and benefits of various treatment options. Her goal is to figure out “How can we work as a team to get the results we’re trying to achieve?” She enjoys working with patient families who “ask questions and push me to provide better explanations,” she added.
“I'm excited to be a part of the Fort Worth medical community,” she wrote, “and I look forward to engaging with my colleagues and bringing our prolife and whole life approach to medicine to my patients and their families.”
Dr. Collins described WholeLife’s approach to healthcare as “restorative” and “grounded in respect for all life, recognizing that we are all made in the image and likeness of God.”
One way Dr. Collins upholds the dignity of life is by “doing my best to view all of my patients as family. So when I’m taking care of kids — kids with disabilities or kids without — I’m frequently getting down on the floor with them. And that’s just kind of my parenting style; I’m very hands-on, but it’s also just how I approach life, is let’s try to be on the same level.” She is very available to her patients and finds this kind of connection “energizing.”
Behind the scenes, Dr. Collins prays for her patients “every day.” Dr. Francis Dennehy, one of her mentors during her residency, taught her “you pray before you walk into every room.” Dr. Collins keeps up this practice. “It’s a critically important starting point for everything that we do,” she said.