After 12 years in the health care field, Dr. Dina BenDavid opened the Island’s first cosmetic enhancement center in 2014.
What inspired you to get into the cosmetic and wellness field?
I have experience doing family practice and women’s health, and I always approached patients from a holistic perspective. That sort of sparked my interest in wanting to enter the field of medical aesthetics, so I went for trainings and advanced trainings and just kept going, and now I have a pretty wide service menu. Everything I perform here I have the training and certification to do.
So what originally attracted you to the health care field?
I have been in health care for 12 years now. I started off as a nurse, then I became a nurse practitioner, then most recently I got my doctorate.
How did you end up on the Island?
I came here as a traveling nurse over 10 years ago. Then, on a personal note, I met my husband, and two kids later, I’m still here. I can’t wait to tell my kids that story someday; it will be so fun, how it came to be.
So you came here, met him, and never left?
Yeah, pretty much. When you go anywhere as a traveling nurse, you have to sign a contract, and I signed a contract for three months or something, and then I signed another three-month contract to be here, then I signed another contract for three months. Finally I was like, OK, what are we doing here?
What was it like starting out?
It’s difficult when you’re starting any type of business — working out kinks and figuring out the logistics and the flow. I started out as the sole person. I did everything myself — checking in people, checking out people, scheduling, all that kind of stuff. As the business grew, as word got out, I had to add a secretary, I added a nurse, I added an aesthetician. We’re only growing here, so it’s super-exciting. And it’s definitely growing faster than I thought it would. I thought it was going to be slower, but it’s definitely catching on. We do a lot of quality work, we take a lot of pride in what we do here, and I think the work speaks for itself.
What’s the best part of your job?
Our goal here is to enhance, rejuvenate, and improve our patient’s appearance, well-being, and sense of self. Empowering women and men is a gift of unsurmountable worth. Treating a young teen who’s battling cystic acne, which obviously impacts her self-esteem, or treating an elderly woman who’s looking to lift her spirits after her husband has passed away — these things are as rewarding as they are humbling. They tell us how we have inspired them, but the truth is that they really inspire us. This is not about vanity, it’s about empowering someone to be the best that they can be by helping them feel better about themselves.
Do you find that people make the assumption that it’s about vanity?
There’s a huge misconception, and education is such a profoundly important piece of what we’re trying to do here. It’s not just about aesthetics, it is about making someone feel better about who they are as a person. And this holistic understanding and approach is what fueled us to enhance the wellness services that we’re offering.
What are some holistic services that you offer?
We are expanding our wellness program to include bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and Myer’s cocktail infusions, among other many exciting new offerings. Myer’s cocktail is an intravenous vitamin infusion used to enhance your immune system, combat fatigue, pain, and a multitude of other conditions. It’s often used to reduce symptoms of a classic hangover. The treatment was pioneered by a physician who studied the profound impact of nutrient cocktails on both acute and chronic conditions.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT as it’s often referred, is an individualized approach to pinpointing a person’s exact hormone levels and deficiencies and replacing them with biologically identical hormones. Patients often ask me what’s the difference between this and synthetic hormones. Synthetic hormones differ in their chemical structure and functionality; bioidenticals have the same structure as hormones created naturally in the human body. We’re focusing on pellet implants, as this mode delivers consistent physiological levels and bypasses the liver, thus avoiding complications and side effects. BHRT is consistently shown to improve cardiovascular health, menopausal symptoms and hot flashes, sex drive, chronic headaches, depression, anxiety, insomnia, just general aches and pains. It’s really an amazing, very natural treatment.
What have been the challenges in opening your business?
I have very little business background. My education is essentially clinical — my degree is a doctorate. There’s very little exposure to how to run a business and that type of thing, so that’s been a little bit of a challenge, but I have a lot of colleagues in the industry who have been great mentors. Part of someone’s growth in doing something like this, or even just life in general, is making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. If you can accept that and understand that, you can grow as a professional and individual.
Is there another place like this on the Island?
No, we’re the only medical spa on Martha’s Vineyard. We are full-service, so we do offer a vast array of treatments. We offer skin rejuvenation, resurfacing and firming, wrinkle reducing, facial contouring, fat reduction and body reshaping, a hair restoration program, laser hair removal, vein treatments, medical weight loss, and we are just now adding a new permanent makeup service. We’re super-excited; she’s a renowned permanent makeup artist and she’ll be joining our team. She specializes in the latest techniques in permanent eyebrows, eyeliner, and lips. She’s also certified in areola pigmentation, which is a specialty area of medical tattooing that will help repigment the areola after breast reconstruction, which helps improve the self-esteem of patients who have undergone a mastectomy and breast surgeries.
Do you work other jobs?
I have like so many, it’s crazy. I have a primary-care practice off-Island. Two days a week I work at a community health center in inner-city New Bedford, serving the underserved population. It’s challenging but very rewarding. I’m also a professor for master- and doctoral-level nursing courses at Maryville University and Southern New Hampshire University. Does being a mom of two kids count?
I think that counts. How do you juggle all of that?
It’s pretty difficult. Having good, supportive friends and family is big, and just having that desire and motivation to really want to excel and help people.
Do you have any advice for others juggling multiple jobs?
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I hate to sound so clichéd, but it is really true.
Martha’s Vineyard Center for Cosmetic Enhancement and Wellness, Dr. Dina BenDavid, D.N.P., M.S., F.N.P.-C. 17 Winter Street, Nevin Square, Upper Level, Edgartown; enhancemv.com, 508-627-0352.