Dr. Danika Hickman practices medicine at St. Vincent’s Family Care in Trussville. But that’s not the extent of her work.
“I don’t think a doctor’s job is to just sit in this clinic or to go to the hospital,” the Pleasant Grove resident said. “It’s to go out and educate the community. That’s one of the joys of my job.”
Dr. Hickman, who spent 10 years at UAB West, is a doctor and a chaplain and seamlessly blends the two callings. She laughed when asked if she was more one than the other.
“I guess with the M.D. behind my name, I have to say more doctor.”
But not by much. The former Danika Moorer was valedictorian at Fairfield High School and has known since her early teens that she wanted to work in medicine.
That career goal was cemented when she volunteered as a candy striper at Lloyd Noland Hospital in Fairfield.
Now a mother of two, she remembers having schoolmates who were in the hospital the summer of her junior year. While she could not treat their physical ailments, she encouraged them.
“Even then, just as a student,” she said, “I was developing a bed-side manner and seeing how much a nice, kind word can make a difference for someone in their healing process.”
Dr. Hickman earned her medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School, and completed her residency at the Medical Center East (now St. Vincent’s East) Family Practice Residency Program. She has special interest in adolescents, women’s health, hypertension and diabetes.
Dr. Hickman hosts a weekly Internet-based call-in radio show called “What Up Doc?” on radioairjesus.com. She is continuing a bit of a family tradition in medicine as she has an aunt who is a nurse and her great grandmother was a midwife.
Beyond practicing medicine, she is a published author. Her book “Fountain in the Valley” notes that physicians only practice medicine “but God is the Healer.”
“The valley is any hard situation a person has gone through,” the doctor said. “I talk about divorce, loss of a loved one, any valley situation and then finding the fountain in the valley, which is Jesus. He’s always here, but it’s a matter of calming your mind” to hear him.
Dr. Hickman was recently honored by the Bessemer Chamber of Commerce with the Doctor of the Year Award. She was also awarded the Birmingham Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s WOW award (Wonderful Outstanding Woman) in medicine and was nominated for the 2015 Legacy Award for African American Achievement in medicine.
But accolades and awards mean less to her than treating people right.
“That’s where my heart is,” she said, “and to make sure they’re healthy — physically, spiritually, emotionally – (and) that they can make proper choices in their lives.”