Episode 44 - Dr. Joi Johnson-Weaver (They/Them) of Resolve MD - Columbia, MD

Direct Primary Care Doctor

Dr. Johnson-Weaver with their stethoscope
Dr. Joi Johnson-Weaver

Dr. Joi Johnson-Weaver is a Board-Certified Family Medicine doctor who has been practicing for close to 15 years. After obtaining their bachelor's from Princeton University, Dr. Johnson-Weaver attended Temple School of Medicine and then completed their residency at Chestnut Hill Family Practice in Philadelphia, PA. Personally, Dr. Johnson-Weaver enjoys spending time with their blended family of seven, coaching youth sports and reading clubs and gardening.

They opened Resolve MD in 2018!

In their interview, Dr. Johnson-Weaver shares about Resolve MD - from it's logo design creation to how the practice faired during the pandemic. Dr. Johnson-Weaver also discusses the importance of pronouns and using the correct pronouns as they developed an inclusive, affirming practice and much more!

Dr. Johnson-Weaver and the Lion are on top of the clinic mission: Membership-based family medical care where our only focus is your health.
Dr. Johnson-Weaver and their Lion logo
A door with an explanation of inclusive medical care.
The Inclusive Welcome Note From Resolve MD

Resources Mentioned and Recommended By Dr. Johnson-Weaver:

- Oath Against Racism

- My Pronouns. org


Website: Resolve MD

Socials: resolvemd_dpc





COMING 06.27.21 - Dr. Joi Johnson-Weaver of Resolve MD*

[00:00:00] direct primary care is an innovative alternative path to insurance driven healthcare. Typically patients pay their doctor a low monthly membership and in return build a lasting relationship with their doctor and have their doctor available at their fingertips.

[00:00:34] Dr. Johnson Weaver is a board certified family medicine doctor who has been practicing for close to 15 years after obtaining their bachelor's from Princeton university. Dr. Johnson Weaver attended tumble school of medicine, and then completed their residency at Chestnut hill family practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

[00:00:54] Personally Dr. Johnson Weaver enjoy spending time with their blended family of seven coaching youth [00:01:00] sports and reading clubs and gardening. They opened resolve MD in 2018.

[00:01:08] Direct primary care means freedom. To me, it means the ability to be able to practice in a more personal manner, with my patients and, not have so many people between us in that relationship, meaning administrators and health insurances. So being a direct primary care physician has allowed me to practice the way that I always dreamed of as a child.

[00:01:36] And so that in essence just equals freedom. My name is Dr. Johnson Weaver, and this is my DPC story. Welcome to the podcast after Johnson Weaver. I thank you. Thank you for having me. It's definitely my pleasure. Now in your intro, you mentioned about how you envisioned medicine being a certain way when you were a [00:02:00] child.

[00:02:00] So I wanted to open with that. And have you explain a little bit more to the listeners? What did you envision when you were a child thinking about medicine? Well, you know, I envisioned having a very personal relationship with patients and, you know, as a child, I just imagined that I had time in my day to develop those relationships.

[00:02:27] And didn't envision sort of the amount of paperwork and other. Non medicine, things that I would be doing, you know, in, in the insurance space world. And so, so I, when I say that, that, that sort of practicing medicine in the way that I did as a, that, and the way that I envisioned as a child, it really was very patient centered and not much of anything else.

[00:02:51] And when you had that vision, had you been exposed to medicine in that your family was involved in medicine or your [00:03:00] experience, your vision came from your experience as a patient or both? I think it's, it's probably some of it, not necessarily family members in medicine, but I think images that I may have seen on TV and then just my imagination as well, books that I've may have read it sort of all sort of contributed to this vision of what I had, uh, of, of treating patients.

[00:03:25] And when you were in your medical training, in medical school and in residency, did you have any experiences that fed into that vision that you had as a child? There were parts. I mean, you know, when I rounded with, or had some rotations with primary care physicians, especially ones that own their own practices, I think you kind of see what you want to see.

[00:03:48] Right. And so I think I saw, you know, this is a solo doc practicing the way they want, you know, really developing this great, these great doctor, patient relationships [00:04:00] and practicing medicine in the way they, they want. So I think, I, I think I thought I saw that throughout med school and maybe parts of residency.

[00:04:09] And after residency, after you had graduated, what was your path before opening up resolving. No. So when I graduated from residency, I started at a federally qualified health center in Delaware. I trained in Philadelphia in the Philadelphia surrounding area of Pennsylvania. So it wasn't too far to, to move to Delaware and, and practice.

[00:04:33] And I really did enjoy it. I really enjoyed the patients. The pace was a big ruling. The paperwork was certainly a big ruling, a bit grueling as well, but, and then I practiced there for a few years and then transitioned to a, uh, a more of a private practice with, you know, six or seven docs in Maryland. And, you know, again, I enjoyed that.

[00:04:56] I enjoyed the patients, the pace I wasn't thrilled with. And so I [00:05:00] transitioned to a practice where I was at actually for nine years, a large organization still in Maryland. Uh, I was a lead physician at, uh, one of the sites for seven years and even stayed within the organization, went to another office that was kind of closer to home.

[00:05:14] And I found myself sort of starting to feel a bit like I was wandering. Like I wasn't, I wasn't quite practicing in the way that I, I, you know, I really wanted to, which started started me sort of questioning, you know, what, we're my next steps in medicine in general. And when you started questioning, what were some of those questions that you had that you were seeking out answers?

[00:05:40] Well, I think each, each location, you know, and I left obviously on my own accord and unite in the lead doc and at least three of the, of the positions that I've been in. There's always this underlying current of why don't we have more time, uh, with patients, there was always something new that administrators were trying to [00:06:00] sort of push on us.

[00:06:01] Somehow they felt that were more important than the patient, even though it was supposed to be patient centered, this is going to help the patient, but actually it took up more of our time. Um, so I didn't quite see it as being beneficial to the patient. And I re I, I didn't really like that control controlling feeling.

[00:06:17] I, you know, I thought, I, I guess I envisioned after going through so much training. That once you're out of training now, you're, you're, you're you're out and you don't have people breathing down your neck. And that was just the exact opposite. Um, with the different positions I was in. And even if I didn't necessarily have an administrator breathing down my neck, if I was a lead doctor, they wanted me to breed down another physician's neck or a nurse practitioner or physician assistants.

[00:06:43] And, um, and I feel quite comfortable with that either. Definitely. And I totally hear you on that. It's so interesting that you say that so succinctly though, because it is so true, like when you go into medicine, I, I, you know, maybe not, maybe not everybody feels like this, but I, I can completely relate.

[00:07:00] [00:07:00] Like you go into medicine being so proud of every, you know, procedure you've done in training of every diagnosis that you feel really confident in treating. And then all of a sudden you spend your time three o'clock in the morning charting, because that's what you've been told that you have to do to get your paycheck.

[00:07:21] Sure. Absolutely. Absolutely. Now, as you were feeling these feelings, as you were questioning, as you explained, um, you were questioning, at what point did you discover DPC? You know, I really was in the last position I was in. I, yeah, as I mentioned, I was in a large organization for about nine years. About in that organization, there was about 40 minutes from home and I think the commute was starting to wear on me a bit.

[00:07:52] And so I, I was transferred to an office that was closer to home, about a 15, 20 minute drive. Well [00:08:00] more like 15. And I thought at that time, that that was one of the reasons why I was feeling burnt out. I thought it was the commute, you know, because everyone was going through what I was going through.

[00:08:10] Every physician was seeing patients in 15 minutes. Every position had administrators with new rules every six months or every few years and new contracts that seem to take away more time. So I wasn't really questioning all of that. I felt uneasy about practicing. And once I moved to a practice where I was closer to home, it's like I I'm making a decent, a good salary as compared to my colleagues and family medicine for the amount of years I've been out of school and the commute was easy.

[00:08:39] And then I just wondered, I was, I'm still feeling uncomfortable. Like this is, you know, I think this was my own evolution as just saying, you know, Something's not right. And I really started to feel uncomfortable with the pace. And I really wanted to, I actually really started questioning whether I wanted to be a physician.

[00:08:56] And then that was scary because it's like, you know, if you're like [00:09:00] me, I have a lot of school loans and I'm thinking, what else am I actually supposed to do with my life? And then, you know, I'd actually do like medicine itself and patients. So, so anyway, I, I was on a physician group. There's so many on Facebook and probably grumbling with other physicians.

[00:09:17] And then someone mentioned DPC and I was like, what in the world is that? And it was it wasn't the first time I'd seen it. I think. I think I'd seen it a few other times and sort of ignored it. But this time I think I was open to knowing, Hey, Hey hearing, is there an alternative? And this person was sort of bubbly.

[00:09:32] And I don't remember who it was, which is kind of funny because now being a DPC Docker probably should know who it was. But then I joined the DPC, um, community, um, on Facebook. And when I joined, I was like, what is this group? Everyone's talking about their practice and how they're so excited. And they're taking medicine back into their own hands.

[00:09:51] I had no idea what I was reading for awhile. And then I think someone had posted in the group. Just if you new look through prior posts, get a sense of what's [00:10:00] going on. And that's when I sort of realized, Hey, this is a sort of an alternative way that that could potentially fit. Fantastic. And I just think about, we'll get into these amazing points later about your practice.

[00:10:11] Um, but you know, you are such a, an inclusive doctor when it comes to treating people where they're at. And I mean, like if anyone visits your website, which they should, you can clearly see that even if they don't know you yet. But it just kills me to think about that. That was even a thought in your mind that you might leave medicine because you just were not satisfied with the life that you were living in your career that you had prior to resolve MD.

[00:10:39] So, you know, for every patient that you've ever had for every doctor you've ever talked to that you've inspired or helped a little bit along the way. Like I am so thankful that you did not leave medicine as I'm sure everybody else you've inspired or helped is as well. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Um, I'm, I'm glad I didn't [00:11:00] either.

[00:11:00] And I'm thankful for the DPC group as well. I mean, you know, it's certainly life changing to be a part of that community and to open up your own own practice. I, you know, my only wish is that I had, known I wish I knew about it sooner. I really do. Awesome. I'll probably pull that quote and put it in the social media because that's fantastic.

[00:11:19] Now, when you open it. Can you share about your process to choose the name, resolve MD and about your lion logo? Yeah, well, so yeah, I already felt like I had a life that was extremely busy. You know, we're already bursting at the scenes, you know, you're up and I don't, everyone charts at a different timeline is a 5:00 AM charting.

[00:11:41] And you're, it's like, you've got to wake up at five because if you don't, you're not getting through your charts and then you start your day and you feel like you're behind. And, uh, they have this whole shaming process that goes on in these big organizations where they're posting, if your charts aren't done so everyone can see, you know, so anyway, [00:12:00] my routine was to get up at five and do my charts and then get ready for work, maybe exercise and head out to work.

[00:12:06] And I have three little ones at home. I just separated from my, um, I had to just had gone through a divorce in my marriage. So I did not feel like I had a lot of space and time. The kids are very active and. You know, and working 40 hours a week. So when I realized I wanted to start direct primary care practice, it automatically, it just took a lot of resolve.

[00:12:28] I mean, basically like you can do this, you are extremely bright. You've been through med school. If you can go through those grueling hours, not sleeping, if you've been through residency, you're almost there, this pep talk. But I just, you know, when I think about the steps it took in addition to working a full-time job and take being a, um, you know, at the time of single mom, that's all it really was resolved.

[00:12:50] And, and then I loved it because I love that resolved in D came out of it because then it started to that word, started to take shape with how I want to practice as well. [00:13:00] So my resolve as a physician to take care of my patient members and then the resolve that I hope my patients will feel from me and therefore.

[00:13:11] Towards working towards their own health. So it has those of those meanings for me. And so I was really happy to sort of name it and resolve M D and it's funny when we're thinking of a logo, it's like, well, what's the animal that can go along with the word resolve and, you know, just choosing this lion, I just thought that, you know, just sort of this serene, strong looking lion, um, kind of just fit, resolve MD.

[00:13:38] Um, and I Blue's my favorite color. So I had a designer kind of add blue to it. And there you go. That was it. It's really unique and the, the logo specifically. And I just think that it's, it's very powerful at the same time. It's a very, uh, what is the word? Um, the lion is [00:14:00] very proud looking, so I think you did a great job with it.

[00:14:03] Yeah. And I just love the backstory behind the name. I think it's so neat. How as positions, you know, it might not be a thing to think about opening your own practice, especially naming your own practice because the trend unfortunately, is to go into employed medicine. But I love that when I ask people that question, there's an, there's a, there's a reason behind each and every clinic name and you get the chance to name your own clinic versus.

[00:14:29] Go to a dignity, go to a Kaiser, go to a Sutter. Right, right. It's, it's actually really a, one of the very first things I think that makes you realize you're on your way, you know, like you name it and then it's like, this is your baby now, so you're gonna, you're gonna see it through. So it really starts to help everything else take, take shape.

[00:14:50] And so I agree with you. It's, it's, it's a very important step in the process. Awesome. And so now I wanted to [00:15:00] go back to this, this truth that you are so inclusive in, in, in your entire website and your entire, um, the entire field that it gives off. There's just so many aspects. And I loved reading into, you know, the different pages that you had on your website, but, um, I wanted to highlight your slogan.

[00:15:23] You're so good on your home page is membership-based family medical care where our only focus is your health. And I just found that that was really warm and welcoming, but also just pointing out to patients that you are our focus. But I just, I, when I read that, I felt that it was, it was immediately pointing to the fact that you are focusing your, your care on your patient's health.

[00:15:50] And so I wanted to ask about. When you were in the process of you, you've named your practice, you've gotten your lion. Did you [00:16:00] spitball this slogan with your family or other people? Or did this just come to you? I think that one came over time because I think most of us know why we're doing this. And we all have variations of that.

[00:16:13] When I say we, I mean, you know, direct primary care physicians, we all have variations of it. And so I think, you know, that one just sort of came over time. I don't think I've passed it by anyone. It just sort of made sense. Right. That that's what we're doing. And, and, you know, what's interesting is it came over time because you get so many calls and DPC in the beginning, new members are like, wait, I just reached you directly.

[00:16:36] Like, I'm there. They're almost surprised. Right. And, or they're just surprised at some of the nuances of the care. You almost start to forget, but you're, you're providing this level of care. Right. Just so much more direct, right. That when you know, the more I can thinking about it, it just sort of, it just made sense to say that that's exactly what it is.

[00:16:57] My focus is not coming into a room and clicking 10 [00:17:00] boxes and wondering how I'm going to get through my charts. My focus really is to just sit and listen to you and kind of go through things for as long as, we need to. So, you know, again, I just, I think it, it just, it just kind of made sense and it has come over over the few years that I've had a practice open.

[00:17:17] It certainly wasn't the first slogan on my, on my page. Gotcha. And it's cool that it changed with your, with your practice. Like as you, as we all, you know, hone in on our way that we do things or the way that we like to do things you had your web page changed with you. I chuckled though, when you mentioned that patients were like amazed that they were getting you as, as their doctor on the phone, because I remember Dr.

[00:17:45] Lauren Hetty, when we were communicating about when to schedule her interview, I only could message her and I didn't have her phone number, but then knowing that that's pretty much how everybody works, I just called her clinic number. I know I'm guessing it's you [00:18:00] on the other end of the line. So that's, that's awesome.

[00:18:02] That's awesome. Another thing that you have on your website is a video of you where as you watch the video, one of the things that you say another inclusive statement, again, we allow patient care to exist between you and. And so I was wondering about that video in general. What was the thought process behind?

[00:18:25] I would love to have a video on my landing page, basically. And what was the process like developing what you were going to say in that video? I think that I wanted people to, to meet me before meeting me because I find that people don't quite still quite don't quite get this. Right. You know, I'm paying money for what, and you can say it, but it doesn't, they don't always quite understand it.

[00:18:51] I wanted to take maybe some of the mystery out of it, by hearing those words come out of my mouth. And I think so I do think in that respect video is more [00:19:00] powerful than just what you've written on your website. And so that was the thought process behind that, you know, there's gotta be somewhere in here where they can click in and see me speak.

[00:19:08] And I wanted to exude this sort of openness, and then I want it to have the clinic in the background. You know, I just want it to make it real. This, this is real, this is where you would be, and this is who you would meet and, and see. And so, um, and then, you know, again, stating this is care between you and I, because as we know, you know, every patient is different.

[00:19:28] You know, you may have a patient with the same diagnosis, maybe the same body weight, same ethnicity, all of that. But they're, they're still going to, you're going to meet them where they're at. This one might be squeamish about this. This one might be very gun-ho about treating this, you know? And, and so I, I just need people to know exactly what I said, but this is going to be a relationship we're going to develop.

[00:19:48] I'm going to get to know you, and then we know, um, how to move forward with treatment. I make accompanying blogs that go with your interview. So I've written down that I'd [00:20:00] like to put the link to your video there. Um, your website is going to be there also, but I love like when people can hear your podcast and then watch the video, that's like things that we're talking about in the podcast.

[00:20:12] Yeah. So especially after 2020 and everything that this country went through, one of the things that you have on your website is your oath against racism. And I'd like to ask about, like, if I'd like to ask, if you can share with the listeners, what exactly is that? And is it something that you're able to discuss.

[00:20:33] Patients now, the reason I ask that is because, um, prior to maternity leave, I got a lot of I'm so anxious about what's going on in this country. I can't sleep because of what's going on in this country. I got a lot of those patient concerns that we had to address in clinic where normally these patients are asking these questions did not have any concerns like that.

[00:20:55] They had brought up with me. So I'm wondering, has this both against racism [00:21:00] opened up a level of communication with your patients that you had not had before because you have it on your website. It's interesting. I'm actually going to say no, which is probably not what you thought. I was going to say. I, the oath is there.

[00:21:13] So people know that, I know that racism is a public health problem. Right. And we. Don't address that we do a really poor job of addressing that. As physicians, we do a really poor job of dresses, addressing racism in general. And we have to, because to not say it is really doing a disservice to everybody who's suffering from it.

[00:21:42] And the importance of meeting people where they are, is having an understanding of them. And so that oath is there for someone to see to one, say one, my doc gets it. Period. [00:22:00] Two it's for physicians. If anyone calls on my site, I want them to see, we should be addressing them. And if we're not, we're doing a disservice to our patients, it's not okay to say we love everybody.

[00:22:12] You have to address the problems that we see just as we may ask, go through screening questions for domestic abuse. If we think there's a high risk sexual abuse, if we think there's a risk. Racial trauma is real and it affects our patients. So it's there for patients, patients who haven't dealt with, racism, patients who are not people of color for them to see, this is where this is.

[00:22:37] This is what I stand for. And I love the fact that it's my practice and I can put it on there and no one can tell me you can't place it there. But again, in one part, it's for it's for patients. But the other part, it honestly, it's really for physicians too. I want physicians to see it should be on your page.

[00:22:53] And if it's not on your page, I mean, you can address it any way you want. It just needs to be addressed somewhere. And so it's [00:23:00] great that you had patients who were coming to you and actually saying to you that they were nervous because that means they were comfortable enough to tell you that, right?

[00:23:08] There are patients of color who aren't comfortable enough saying that, but yet it's still going to come out and their health it's going to come out and non-compliance, it's going to come out in anxiety and depression. It's going to come out in a myriad of ways. So again, if we don't address it, then we're really doing a disservice to the people that we, that we take care of.

[00:23:28] Yeah. I agree. 110%. It just, as, as a Filipino doctor seeing, you know, the recent, uh, incidences about, you know, violence against Asian-Americans I think about how, not just about Asian-Americans and the experience that has happened in terms of violent experiences, but just in general, when we look at COVID vaccination voting access, I mean, these are, when you talk about public health, [00:24:00] if we don't have a voice equally for everybody, then we absolutely have a public health issue.

[00:24:06] Absolutely. Absolutely. So when you, when, as we're talking about. The oath against racism. I want to go into a question that's more focused on LGBTQ care because I feel that in terms of public health and given that we're talking about DPC during pride month, I want to ask what are some of the issues that you have seen physical health, as well as mental health wise?

[00:24:38] When it comes to key people, when it comes to people who are, who identify as LGBTQ in your practice. So they're going to be similar issues to any group of people that have felt marginalized in this country. People who feel like they're not seeing. And so it's [00:25:00] similar to racial trauma, obviously not the same thing, but there's similarities where people come to me and because they know and see immediately that this is an inclusive space.

[00:25:10] There's a more, there's a comfort level. They're saying things that they may not have said before, or they're actually starting to come to the doctor, which honestly, I quite a few people who have come to me and said, we have not been to a doctor in years. And so we're excited to have found you. And, and honestly, they aren't like every other patient.

[00:25:29] It's just that they feel comfortable with me. So now they're going and sadly enough, it's because they probably had relationships with doctors where they've been insulted. And that's why it's really important for us to stocks. Again, we can't say we're welcoming. We love everyone. We treat everyone the same.

[00:25:43] We actually have to do the work to learn about other cultures, other, other people with different sexual orientation, gender identity, race. Groups, because you can offend people without knowing it. You can offend people with your unconscious bias. So you've got to [00:26:00] task yourself with learning those things.

[00:26:02] So, um, and I've offended people. I do not want to sit here and say that I have, I certainly have, but I like the fact that I'm pushing myself to continue to learn. So I mean, specifically with the LGBT community and, you know, I'm, I'm queer, I'm, I'm a gay physician. So I feel like I have more insight than, than, than others and not definitely not exhaustive incomplete for sure.

[00:26:23] But, um, you know, there's certain things that I kind of, I may know to say about, uh, certain things, you know, I mean, this is just one example, but for instance, if you have a. Who person who identifies as a woman who is a lesbian. So, uh, and they are masculine leaning, sometimes issues surrounding the breasts are uncomfortable to them.

[00:26:47] And so you have to sort of, kind of get that, right? I mean, if you have a good relationship with them, you know, they might express that to you, but others, you may kind of already know that this is going to be a bit sensitive and I'll try to be just kind [00:27:00] of straightforward, but also a little relaxed and say, Hey, you can't ignore them.

[00:27:05] You know, we, we know that it's not the most comfortable for you, but we still got to take care of them. I might say something simple like that, just to sort of acknowledge that I get that it might be a little uncomfortable for you, but we still have to address this. Right. I mean, that's just a very small thing, you know, more and more, I'm trying to understand and learn about trans care and gender identity, making sure I use proper pronouns with, with clients.

[00:27:27] I mean, something as simple as addressing a person by the pronouns that they. R makes them feel welcome. The care from there might be the exact same care you've given everybody else, but the fact that you've taken that moment to address them properly, it just makes a world of difference. And honestly, that's something I didn't know, maybe a year and a half ago.

[00:27:48] So I mean, we all have to keep learning. It's very important, but I do think there are some nuances. And so it's important to kind of try to open yourself up to reading and educating yourself, join a group, you know, anything there's, [00:28:00] there's plenty of resources. Awesome. And you know, going back to tha