Family + Business = ?

September 24, 2010

I studied the demographics of the area and presented a business plan to my sister, Dr. Unaiza Hayat, to help grow her practice without losing her sanity.

About a year ago, my sister, Dr. Unaiza Hayat, and I started talking about the state of healthcare, the direction it’s going in, and what her goals were. She was caught in a dilemma: a great reputation had quickly built up her practice in five years to where she was seeing almost 30 people a day. However, as an internist, that’s a busy day and it was wearing her out. 

She wasn’t sure how long she could continue providing a high level of quality care and maintain her sanity. She thought about cutting her practice size to reduce the number of people she saw in a day. But she couldn’t decide how to cut her patient population or who to cut. I gave her another option: Grow! Grow the practice large enough so other providers (specifically those that could continue the reputation or “brand” she had developed) could be brought in to help spread the work!

I asked her to give me a few weeks to study the demographics of Fresno, Calif. (her current location), the healthcare options available to its residents, what was missing, and how we could bridge that gap. I found a lot of interesting information and developed an outline of what we could do and how it might work.

Before going back to my sister with my proposal, I ran it by my other sister, Dr. Sumera Hayat, my brother-in-law, Dr. Jeffrey Wilkinson, and my younger brother, Dr. Aatif Hayat (yup, I’m the black sheep in the family - not a doctor - but in fact what many doctors consider their mortal enemy, a lawyer). This was truly a family affair. Sumera , Jeff, and Aatif provided interesting view points. Sumera and Jeff are in academia, and were in the middle of a two-year stint in Tanzania setting up maternal health centers through Duke University. Aatif was starting his preventive health and occupational medicine residency at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

Their input provided different perspectives on the direction of healthcare, both in the U.S. and globally, and the nuances of a family business. After speaking with them and tweaking my proposal, I presented it to Unaiza. We agreed that there is potential for what I had in mind and an opportunity in Fresno (and maybe throughout California) for our plan to be successful.

That was almost nine months ago but it seems like it was just yesterday. I can’t wait to look back nine years from now and see what happens. In the coming months I plan to share more with my fellow Physicians Practice readers about the road I have taken, the practice pearls of wisdom I have learned and incorporated into avecinia wellness center and challenges that lie ahead for not only our practice but for healthcare in general. 

Aamer Hayat joined his sister, Dr. Unaiza Hayat, in August of 2009 to help her develop, manage, and grow avecinia wellness center. Aamer has seven years of corporate tax and business consulting experience with Deloitte & Touche. He has also consulted or worked with several not-for-profit and for-profit enterprises ranging from free medical clinics to fashion labels. He is an occasional contributor to Practice Notes.