Get to know Dr. Denika Dalton of Life In 3D Aesthetic Services

FLINT, Michigan — Flint native Denika Dalton, known affectionately to her patients as Dr. Dee, has dedicated her life to being a mother, wife, and an expansive force in the medical field, and she's committed to providing quality services at Life In 3D Aesthetic Services right in her hometown. The Board Certified Nurse Practitioner earned her degree in Biology at Jackson State University and returned to the Midwest to complete an accelerated Nursing program where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Earning her Doctorate of Nursing Practice from UofM-Flint in 2020, Dalton founded Life In 3D Aesthetic Services, along with her husband, Dr. Mark Dalton, MD. The couple's goal was to assist patients in living a more vibrant life and enhance the dimensions of their beauty. Life In 3D offers cosmetic injectables such as Botox and dermal fillers, hair restoration, weight loss services, IV Drip Therapy, and yearly physical exams, along with educational classes.

Flintside had the opportunity of chatting with Dalton to discuss her life at Life In 3D Aesthetic Services, how she's managed to create a work/life balance, the barriers of being a Black female doctor, and how we should all speak up about our health and wellness. 

Dr. Dalton examines a patient during a consultation. Flintside: What inspired you to pursue health and wellness?

Dr. Dalton: "I have a handicapped sister who is six years younger than me. My parents had been in and out of the hospital often. She ended up going down to Detroits’ Children's Hospital and was under the care of Dr. Alexa Canady. Every time we would go down, Dr. Canady would take me on rounds with her. I was 7 years old rounding with her through the hospital, so for the longest, I wanted to be a Pediatric Neurosurgeon. Most of the time when you go into health, it’s usually because of something happening in your life during childhood that either was traumatic or a wonderful experience. For me, it was a wonderful experience based on a traumatic event so that’s where it started for me."

Flintside: What encouraged the merge of aesthetics and primary care?

Dr. Dalton: "Life in 3D began as a mobile medical clinic. I would go into the homes of certain patients and I would do medical aesthetics and Botox. We were doing all the fun aesthetic work. It was a side hustle because, at the end of the day, I am a mom and a wife, so the aesthetics was something for me. The further I got into aesthetics, people would ask me ‘Why won’t you get into primary care?’ I was introduced to primary care and decided to go into business for myself six weeks after giving birth."

Flintside: How do you balance being a mom, wife, and Nurse Practitioner?

Dr. Dalton: "I work remotely. My hours are designed for me to be a mom. I work remotely after 2:30 pm because I need to be there when my children get home to help with homework or to participate in certain activities. At the end of the day, my task in this life is to not only be a Nurse Practitioner but to be a good wife and a great mom."

Flintside: What barriers have you experienced as a Black female medical student and primary care physician?

Dr. Dalton: "Listen, that’s it right there; being a Black female! For example, there’s an unspoken rule about how many minority nurses can be in the ER working at a time. It’s unspoken but all of the nurses knew it to be true. Even in undergrad, I was the only African American in that classroom. In grad school, I was the only African American woman in that classroom amongst 40+ student nurse practitioners.

Throughout the length of my career, I’ve learned to adapt to any situation. I started at an HBCU and transitioned from where everyone looked like me to coming back home and essentially no one looked like me. I had to work twice as hard to prove that I was half capable of getting a job. I try to tell my students that we will always be viewed as less competent so we do have to work harder to prove who we are."

Flintside: What is the most common underlying issue within our community?

Dr. Dalton: "Lack of providers that care and stress. When my patients come in as new patients, they come in with these lists. I have lists everywhere of things that have happened, things that were never found, things that weren’t done right, and things that have been looked over. And a lot of these things would take a simple fix. It’s the providers and them not being compassionate and not thoroughly listening to patients.

The most common theme for most of my patients is stress. We as African American women carry so much in comparison to our white counterparts. Just stress passed down from generation to generation, we carry our worries and we tend to not let things go. I’m a big advocate for mental health. The body is only as strong as the mind, the mind is only as strong as the spiritual. Everything has to operate together. I suggest about 90% of my patients to psycho-social therapy."

Flintside: Name a few myths that African Americans have been told as it relates to our health and wellness.

Dr. Dalton: "That we don’t perceive pain the same way as other ethnicities or that our pain isn't actual, according to how we’re behaving while we experience this pain. In school, we’re taught that pain is the patient's perception of what their pain is but there was a study done by Harvard Global Health Institute showing that relative to other racial groups, physicians are twice as likely to underestimate Black patients’ pain."

Flintside: I’ve found that oftentimes, we show up in these spaces, hesitant to be completely transparent with our doctors due to past experiences that maybe never got to the root of our concerns. What is the most effective way to advocate for ourselves in these spaces?

Dr. Dalton: "Show up! Ask questions and take your lists! Do your research as well. I wouldn’t hop on Google and self-diagnose but some tools are easily accessible online to learn more about symptoms, medications, and side effects to mention to your PCP."

Flintside: What is the process of acquiring Dr. Dee as a primary care provider or for cosmetic services?

Dr. Dalton: "Contact your insurance company (the number should be on the back of your insurance card) and look up Denika Dalton, NP. If my name is listed as a provider, you can request me."

Learn more about Dr. Denika Dalton and Life In 3D Aesthetics by visiting:
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Read more articles by Jarielle Tasha Nettles.