Shindana L. Feagins, MD
Medical Director | Feagins Medical Group, PLLC
Chairwoman | Hospital Authority Board of Metropolitan Nashville & Davidson County
Shindana Feagins always wanted to be in healthcare, although she laughingly admits the first attraction to medicine was purely selfish. "I wanted to have access to all the lollipops," she said of the sweet treat offered at the pediatrician's office.
As she got older, a love of math and science, along with a desire to help others, kept her early dream alive. "In high school, I had the opportunity to volunteer in a cardiologist's office, and that strengthened and confirmed my desire to go into healthcare," Feagins recalled.
Graduating from the University of Southern California, she enrolled in dental school, noting her father had always dreamed of being a dentist. Despite excelling in her coursework, Feagins' heart simply wasn't in it. When the school called to see why she hadn't signed up for the next year's classes, she couldn't bring herself to register. After teaching for several years, she realized her dream was medical school. Early in the process, she interviewed at Meharry and fell in love with the school. "I went on my second interview and said, "If I get in, I'm cancelling all my other visits.'"
Not only was Meharry the right fit professionally, but it also turned out to be a perfect personal match. Edwin Feagins, a handsome young architectural engineer working at Meharry soon took notice. "He would see me walking by his office every day," she said with a smile. Following graduation, Feagins matched in obstetrics and gynecology at Charles Drew Medical Center back home in Los Angles. Now engaged, she wanted to return to Nashville, but Meharry didn't offer an OB/GYN program.
The late Pamela Williams, MD, who was dean of Academic Affairs at Meharry at the time, was an early mentor to Feagins and had long encouraged her to consider internal medicine. "After speaking with Dr. Williams, everything came full circle," said Feagins. "I switched to internal medicine, and I am very happy that I made the decision to do so, as it has been a true blessing to be able to help patients improve their health and get better."
She loves the space internal medicine provides to think outside the box with a more holistic view of health and wellness. "In 2013, I started the Walk With Your Doctor weight loss program that allowed me to help thousands of patients lose weight and become healthier," Feagins said. "From the WWYD program, I started an annual 5K walk where I invited healthcare providers and their patients to walk together in an effort to improve the doctor-patient relationship."
Although the pandemic cancelled the 2020 walk, she plans to revive the event in 2022 and hopes to take the 5K national over the next decade. "I think it's important for patients to know that their doctors genuinely care about their health and well-being," she explained. "When my patients feel better, and I help them improve their hypertension or their diabetes for example, it makes me feel like I am serving the purpose that God put me on this earth to do."
Giving back is a core principle in Feagins' life. In addition to her thriving practice in Madison, she has written two books for children using poetry and illustrations to foster conversations on diversity and inclusion. She is also the first Black woman to chair the Metro Hospital Authority governing Nashville General Hospital.
"I felt like it was my job to give back to someone who helped me become the doctor I am," Feagins said of her involvement. "I graduated from Meharry and did my internship and residency at Nashville General Hospital. I have a love for both institutions, and I want to see them succeed."
She's equally dedicated to helping friends and family thrive. Feagins is mother to Sabria, a rising senior planning to follow Mom into medicine; Edgerin, a rising eighth-grader; and bonus son Edwin Feagins, Jr., a Nashville firefighter who will soon graduate from Tennessee State University. She and Edwin Sr., who now manages her medical practice, also adore their role as grandparents to Olivia, two, and Elaina, nine months.
While her days are busy, Feagins said they are also extremely fulfilling. "If I could pass on any advice to someone entering the healthcare field, I would tell them not to worry so much about the money ... that will come. Instead, really choose a field where they will enjoy waking up and going to work every day. When one enjoys their job, it makes doing it a lot easier and more rewarding."