Dr. Marie Amos Dobyns is an Eastern Cherokee Native American, who fully integrates her Indian heritage into her medical practice. She has worked in Maryland for the past twenty years, providing counseling and care to more than three thousand patients. Dr. Dobyns, whose sister is the internationally acclaimed musician and singer Tori Amos, follows an holistic approach to heal all aspects of her patients. She considers her approach complementary to the way that her sister uses music to enhance people's lives.
Dr. Dobyns began her medical training in the late 1970s, when women's rights advocates had begun to erode some of the barriers to women in the workplace. Although many still thought that nursing was a more suitable career for a woman interested in medicine, she was able to enter her physician training thanks to the Indians into Medicine (INMED) program, designed to increase the number of American Indian doctors practicing in the United States. The program provides academic and personal support for students preparing for careers in the health sciences.
"I flew out to Grand Forks, North Dakota, in the summer of 1978 to start medical school with the INMED program. I was excited at the opportunity to be involved with other Indian medical students and was eager to learn what they had to share with me, and I was honored to serve as an early President of the Association of Native American Medical Students. I learned a great deal about a holistic approach to medicine while in Grand Forks, and developed an even deeper love and appreciation for my Native American heritage. While in Grand Forks, I was accepted to George Washington University School of Medicine to complete my last two years of medical school. With great expectations mixed with sadness at leaving a place and a people who had taught me so much, I boarded the plane with my acceptance letter in hand to continue my journey to medical school.
"During my medical education I returned to the Cherokee reservation, for two more summers, this time in North Carolina where my respect and admiration continued to grow for the traditions of healing I learned while there. It was there, in the Snow Hill Clinic that I realized my calling was to help patients understand that each of them was a canvas, and I was there to help them practice the art of aging. I will always be grateful to Dr. Frank Clark, who was instrumental in my decision to choose to go into internal medicine and geriatrics. It was the start of an adventure that keeps getting more exciting day by day.
After graduating magna cum laude from George Washington University School of Medicine in 1982, I completed my Internship and Residency in Baltimore Maryland, at Mercy Medical Center. I was blessed with many supporters who urged me on during the difficult times, and unfortunately, there were some difficult times. Being part of a new wave of female physicians breaking into the mostly male ranks, I had to prove my stripes every day in the face of peers who were still holding on to old beliefs that put women in subordinate positions to their male counterparts in the medical field.
"In 1985 I started my greatest adventure when I gave birth to my oldest daughter, Dakota Marie. 'Cody' was named in honor of the Sioux of North Dakota who had influenced me so greatly and been so gracious to me in my two years with them. With her birth, I was faced with my most important challenge, that of balancing my medical career with my home life. Cody was the first of my five children and each if them has been an answer to prayer."
In 2002 Dr. Marie Amos Dobyns and her patients celebrated twenty years in practice. She was also inducted into the American Association of Indian Physicians (AAIP) as an elder. In 2003 the AAIP will focus on 'The Healing JourneyMind, Body and Spirit', and Dr. Dobyns has been chosen to represent these themes. Drawing on her heritage and her own practice, Dr. Dobyns will serve as the AAIP spokesperson for holistic medicine throughout 2003.
Dr. Dobyns strongly believes that patients and doctors form a partnership in promoting good health, and feels honored to be participate in decision-making process in the lives of so many people. She also draws on her own experiences as a patient to shape her approach to healing, and she strives to demystify medical procedures and definitions for her patients.