We had the good fortune of connecting with Sonia Singh MD and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sonia, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I had my first baby right around the start of the pandemic. When I returned to work after my maternity leave, I saw everything through a new lens.
I realized how challenging it was to be a mother, let alone a working mother or one dealing with a medical issue of her own. I finally appreciated what a Herculean effort it is to even see a doctor as a new mom. I thought about how little time I actually got to spend with my patients after they planned their entire day around the visit. I thought about the risk of COVID exposure for both of us & our families. I thought about how every minute I spent answering messages after clinic to help patients avoid having to drive in was a minute I was not spending with my own son.
As a patient myself, I felt anxious sitting in crowded waiting rooms, frustrated filling out endless forms, exhausted by the entire process and surprised by how much it all cost, even as a healthy person with great doctors & “good” insurance.
I realized the traditional healthcare system was not serving me or my patients in the ways we wanted, needed and deserved. So I chose to walk away from what I consider a broken system and create a practice rooted in respect, transparency and compassion, one that always puts the patient first.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Juniper Modern Primary Care is a concierge-style, boutique primary care practice built to serve busy women in Houston, TX.
I founded Juniper based on my own experience as both a patient and a primary care doctor. I saw many of the same themes over and over. Patients were tired of waiting weeks to see their doctor and then spending less than 15 minutes with them. They were tired of feeling like each issue required a separate office visit, even when it could have been handled by phone/text. They were shocked that no one could tell them how much labs/imaging would cost until after they were done. They were disappointed at how quickly their doctors jumped to medication as they only solution for their ailments. They were frustrated when doctors seemed to brush off their concerns without truly listening. They were unnerved by the process of navigating their way through this broken system of low-value, high-cost care.
Juniper is part of the direct primary care (DPC) movement which aims to do away with all the middlemen involved in healthcare, make high-quality care accessible to those with or without insurance and put the patient-doctor relationship first.
Juniper members pay a flat, monthly membership fee which covers all their office visits, virtual visits, 24/7 access to their doctor and coordination of care with specialists. We do not bill insurance for any of these visits, nor do we collect copays.
Our mission is to make healthcare feel like self-care, not just “sick care” and to transform the experience of visiting a doctor from one that is frustrating, inefficient and dehumanizing into one that is positive, hassle-free and empowering.
There are many things that set Juniper apart:
I believe is one of the only (if not the only) primary care practice designed specifically for women in Houston.
At Juniper we see you at your appointment time. We know you’re busy and your time is just as valuable as ours. We also believe you should know the cost of any tests or services up front and every dollar you spend should add value, rather than line the pockets of insurance execs and administrators.
We provide personalized and proactive medical care with a strong focus on nutrition, lifestyle and exploration of root causes rather than medication alone.
We do not sell supplements or services that are not evidence-based and backed by science. In fact, we sell nothing besides high-quality primary care.
I am currently a “solopreuner” and handle all aspects of the business and all of the patient care. I care deeply about my patients and I want them to know & feel that I am walking beside them on their journey, rather than giving orders from above. I too have struggled with finding time for myself (and not feeling guilty about it), saying “no” to the donut in the break room, juggling work with motherhood, and quieting my busy mind at the end of the day. I get it because I’ve been there, and I can help.
I approach medicine with humanity, compassion & creativity to help my patients live happier, healthier lives. I sincerely love what I do and I think that’s reflected in my care.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Common Bond- for the cookies & pistachio croissants
Superica – must have some Tex-Mex, they also have a GREAT salad
Coltivare – a neighborhood favorite, the black pepper spaghetti is a revelation
Pondicheri – I’m Indian and love their take on some of the classics
The Pit Room – must have some BBQ
Julep – could easily spent a couple hours in one of their booths with snacks, cocktails & good company
Museum of Fine Arts – deserves a whole day
Buffalo Bayou – great views of downtown, love seeing people having picnics, getting exercise, enjoying nature
The Menil Collection – always a nice excursion between meals and not too overwhelming
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband, Harman Kular, is a pulmonologist and critical care doctor who has been tirelessly working caring for COVID patients since the start of the pandemic. Despite, all of the mental, emotional and physical challenges of the past 2 years, he has supported me in pursuing my passions and launching my own practice. This has allowed me to not only grow personally and professionally, but to spend more quality time with our son, who is now the reason for everything we do.
Aly Matei Photography