In our July issue, we introduced you to the neighborhood’s fiercest females for our all-women’s issue. We didn’t have enough pages to tell the stories of all the inspiring women bettering our community, but their stories deserve to be told. 

There’s no need to wait anxiously for days or wring your sweaty hands before walking into the Charleston House gynecological practice. Located in a restored historic home on Swiss Avenue, Lakewood neighbor Kamilia Smith wanted women to feel at home with comfy furniture, a coffee bar, co-working space and Wi-Fi. The gynecologist opened the practice in May with the goal of improving health and wellness for women not in need of obstetrician services. Prior to opening Charleston House, Smith co-founded Magnolia Obstetrics & Gynecology at Baylor University Medical Center, where she practiced for 12 years, and advocated for improved health care policies at the state and federal levels.

On improving women’s health care: In the last year, I started thinking about what I’m doing in my community. Medicine has evolved in a way no one could have predicted. It’s forced us into a model that strains the physician and patient. I started to see a fracture in the system, and I wanted to change the way we deliver health care to women.

Why Charleston House is unique: It’s a place where women are supporting women and empowering women to be an advocate for themselves in health. We have to evolve with our patients. What are some things in medicine that can be used alongside the traditional medical approach? We know there’s a place for an integrated approach. Women have access to a conference room because we wanted to create a space where they can work. Doctors are notoriously running behind, but we know it took time to arrange childcare to come get a pap smear. We’ll have health symposiums in the evening and have this house filled with local women’s art.

On postpartum advocacy: Prior to entering medical school, I spent some time in policy in D.C. Big health care decisions were made, but they didn’t trickle down to the bedside. I worked with senior policy advisers at Baylor and worked on postpartum depression and got it on the legislative session in 2019. The first thing is making it important to legislators so they understand the need for it. When stacked up against other states, we fell short. That’s why physicians are afraid to ask about it for fear we don’t have anything to offer them. It’s important that the medical community and the state of Texas make it a priority.

On the neighborhood: Living in East Dallas has allowed me to see my patients on the soccer field, dance practice, etc. I’m pulling for my patients whether I’m in or out of the office.