“I think it’s important to do what you love. I just believe that if you do what you love doing, what you can truly see yourself doing, you can do it for years and be happy,” Dr. Robyn Messing said. Dr. Robyn Messing, owner of Practice of Dermatology in Lansing, is a board certified family practice physician that specializes in the field of Dermatology. With a passion for people and a drive to pursue medicine, Dr. Messing has built her practice and career around helping others. Dr. Messing was born and raised in Midland, Mich. and showed an interest in medicine from an early age. “My parents say I showed an interest at a young age, maybe four or five years old. Of course I wanted to do other things too, like be a professional cheerleader, but my parents really encouraged my interest in the medical field more than anything else,” Dr. Messing said. “Even with an interest in all those other things, being a doctor was always number one. My parents event bought me doctor sets of toys.” Dr. Messing attended Michigan State University (MSU) and received her Bachelor’s degree in Physiology and her Doctorate from MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. When starting her career, she found family practice offered her the opportunity to connect with patients. “Family practice is great because there are a variety of patients. I love working with patients and family practice includes so many different kinds of people and unique aspects. I think primary care was right for me because I have always been interested in how all the pieces connect. I think it has made me better at dermatology,” said Dr. Messing. Dr. Messing worked in the field of family practice for years, but found her true calling to be dermatology. After discovering her passion, Dr. Messing joined Dermatologist, Dr. William Heckert in his practice. Dr. Heckert had practiced on his own for many years before welcoming Dr. Messing to his team. The pair worked closely for three years before Dr. Messing took over the practice upon his retirement. “I felt like dermatology was similar to family practice and they fit in really well together. Having a really good understanding of general medicine was an asset to understanding dermatology, it helps knowing how the internal workings of the body can show on the outside of the skin,” Dr. Messing said. “The body is a whole system and everything is interconnected and the skin is a reflection of all the systems.” Though Dr. Messing was confident and sure of her medical talents, running her own practice came with a few new challenges. As she looks back on the experience she recounts how valuable it was. “It was really all about learning how to balance running the practice and running a business. I had to learn the in’s and out’s of management and all of the pieces that go with that. I was confident when it came to my patients, but in the beginning I had to learn a lot when it came to the business,” said Dr. Messing. Dr. Messing is quick to note, however, she wouldn’t be where she is today without the help and support of her family. She credits her husband, Gary Gazall, with being an extraordinary help behind the scenes of her practice and her parents for supporting every decision she has made along the way. “Gary is a golf instructor but he is really an invaluable asset to the practice. He is the behind-the-scenes guy and oversees it all so I can focus on the patients,” said Dr. Messing. “There will never be enough time or years to thank my parents for everything they have done for me and continue to do for me. Their patience and support and my husband’s support is such an asset to me. I’m so proud of it and I am so thankful for them all.” As Dr. Messing’s practice has grown she has learned a lot about herself. She has found joy in her work and strength in her family. She is humbled by how far she has come, where she is at in life and what she has learned along the way. “I always knew I was driven, my parents said I was a strong-willed child. But I think over the years I have learned to be more patient and more empathetic to people. Empathy is a huge part of medicine but also life in general. I’ve learned that as I grow these things, patience and empathy, can grow as well if nurtured and cared for,” Dr. Messing said. Dr. Messing says her drive comes from working with people and helping to change lives. She enjoys the day-to-day interaction of her career as well as learning a little bit extra about each of her patients. “I would say my favorite part of my job is my patients. I love the patients. I love talking to them and learning things about them that may not even be related to their appointment. It feels like I get a little peek into their lives. I enjoy the stories, everyone has a story,” said Dr. Messing. Dr. Messing has lot of people to thank for their unconditional support and encouragement as well as helping her advance in her field. She hopes her career can be an inspiration for others for what they can achieve. As she shared her story, she also shared her advice for the next generation of doctors. “I say go for it! I mean go for it in any field,” Dr. Messing said. “I think medicine is a great career, if you love it and you really love helping people, as cliché as it is, it will be a great career. It’s been amazingly rewarding. Pick the medicine you love, that you can see yourself doing day-in and day-out and then pick your lifestyle. Balance between what you love about medicine and what you see for yourself. If you do that you’ll be happy.”
Ami Iceman-Hauter is the Brand Manager at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. Iceman is a graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelors degree in creative advertising.