The House Doctor: ‘Medicine the way it should be’
By Christine Boatwright
Justin Davis, M.D. ’99, practices medicine in a way that more closely resembles television’s Doc Baker on “Little House on the Prairie” than the modern high-intensity physicians portrayed in medical dramas of today.
For example, rather than treating a high volume of patients in a doctor’s office, Davis treats patients in his San Francisco Victorian home.
Self appointed as “The House Doctor,” Davis uses the play on words to invite patients into his home — complete with his hypoallergenic dog, photographer wife and two small daughters — and schedule personal house calls to his patients’ homes.
“With medicine, you have this fantastic privilege that you get not only to help people, but they let you into their lives,” Davis said. “You get to form these relationships as well.”
Davis’ view of the “country doctor” began as he grew up near Gainesville in Archer, Florida, where his family owns Jordan Glen School and Summer Camp.
“I spent a lot of time outdoors in the countryside. That may have been part of it, but I believe that my father, although a teacher and school owner, has a similar philosophy in how he practices education,” Davis said.
While he left home to attend Michigan State University, he later decided to return to his roots to finish his undergraduate degree in anthropology and then join the UF College of Medicine class of 1999.
During medical school, Davis traveled to India to study the effects of yoga on the brain. After graduation, he delayed his match for a year to study acupuncture and Chinese medicine in China.
“I’m trained in and practice Western medicine but believe in a more holistic approach,” Davis said. “The more differing paradigms you can see in the world, the more appreciation you’ll have for the problem you’re facing. You’ll have a more comprehensive approach to facing it as well.”
After moving to San Francisco, Davis worked for a medical practice for three years.
“I really wasn’t satisfied with the traditional (primary care) model. I didn’t find it enjoyable to try to practice like that,” Davis said. “I wanted to create something that’s different — medicine how it used to be.”
More than six years ago, Davis started his practice. The House Doctor provides “medicine the way it should be,” Davis said, as it’s enjoyable to practice from both the physician’s and patient’s perspective. Davis sees four to 10 patients per day, and the majority of them visit his office, which is also the bottom level of his three-story home. A day of house calls can range from a bedbound senior to the CEO of a major technology company in Silicon Valley.
The House Doctor offers services from geriatrics and pediatrics to gynecology and dermatology. Davis responds to calls at all hours of the night to treat non-emergencies.
“I do practice a certain amount of integrated medicine, but I do a lot of primary and urgent care,” Davis said. “It’s not that I’m focused on integrated medicine per say, but I offer it as an alternative.”
A bonus of working from home allows Davis to balance his work and family life. His office includes a play area for children, including his own when visiting patients are not acutely sick.
“My older daughter is always extremely interested and said she wants to be a doctor,” Davis said.
Another office regular is the Davises’ 2-year-old standard apricot poodle named Bijoux. Bijoux is a trained therapy dog certified to accompany Davis when he sees patients and to visit hospitals, pediatric wards and nursing homes.