Mon. Sep 27th, 2021

Dr. Erin Kiesel earned her BS from Santa Clara University in 1994 where she graduated Cum Laude and was part of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. She then went on to earn her medical degree from Midwestern University, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1997. She completed her family practice residency in Modesto from 1997-2000. She went on to complete a fellowship in Faculty Development at UC San Francisco from 2011-2012. In addition to being awarded the Teacher of the Year Award by the Stanislaus Health Foundation in 2012, she continues to serve as a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine since 2000. Her special interests include pediatrics and women’s health. 

She is married to George and they have four children. 

Dr. RJ Heck earned his BS from the University of Arizona in 1987 where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and was awarded the President’s Award for Excellence. He continued at the University of Arizona where he earned his medical degree in 1991. Like Dr. Kiesel, he too trained in Modesto completing his family practice residency from 1991-1994 and achieved the “Excellence in Resident Research in 1994.” He has two sons and has volunteered with Liga Internationalwhere they do mission trips in Mexico.

Their non-profit practice, founded by Dr. Robert Forrester and Dr. RJ Heck, St. Luke’s Family Practice is a non-profit organization in Modesto, CA that bridges the gap of healthcare. The mission statement of the practice is “To establish a self-sustaining non-profit organization for the delivery of free outpatient health care, consistent with the Catholic tradition, to uninsured persons ineligible for government programs.”

St. Luke’s serves by providing primary health care to two very important groups — Benefactors and Recipients.

Benefactors are individuals and families blessed with the ability to support the work of St. Luke’s Family Practice. They receive their primary care from one of the physicians at St. Luke’s Family Practice.

Recipients are those less fortunate who do not have health insurance and do not qualify for government programs. They can also obtain primary medical care without charge from St. Luke’s Family Practice.

St. Luke’s Family Practice addresses two main issues:

1. The deterioration of enduring doctor-patient relationships. Many patients today feel like their doctor is too busy for them. “Service” is a tired cliché. Choices are sharply limited by insurance. Rather than focusing on your medical concerns, doctors today spend too much time on authorizations and payment. 2. There are still millions of uninsured Americans. Worse yet, millions of Americans still have no health insurance. Despite the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”) tens of thousands of Stanislaus County residents have no access to primary medical care. Most are “working poor” families. One in four Californians under age 65 is without health insurance for at least part of the year.

In today’s episode, Dr Kiesel and Dr. Heck share more about the day-to-day activities at St. Luke’s and how the practice was created as a nonprofit back in 2004 and how it continues to serve the people of Stanislaus County in alignment with its central mission.

A New Model of Charitable Care: The Robin Hood Practice

Here is the American Academy of Family Practice article about St. Luke’s practice featuring Dr. Robert Forester.

Resources mentioned by Dr. Kiesel & Dr. Heck:

– Harrison’s Textbook of Internal Medicine

– Essential Evidence Plus


– Cirugía Sin Fronteras – a surgery center for the uninsured in Bakersfield, CA

– The Gallo Foundation

– The Foster Family Foundation



Dr. Kiesel: [email protected]

Dr. Heck: [email protected]


22020cookie-checkMy DPC Story: Dr. Erin Kiesel and Dr. RJ Heck of St. Luke’s Family Practice – Modesto, CA

By Maryal Concepcion, MD

A Sacramento native, Dr. Maryal Concepcion is a Filipinx creator and connector. She attended the University of California at Davis where she graduated in 2005 with a double major in Anthropology (BS) and Evolution & Ecology (BA). She had an unforgettable time as a California transplant when she got her MD at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. It was there she discovered hayrack rides, found her Husband, Dr. Jeremiah Fillo, and discovered her love of rural family medicine. Her residency training was in the unopposed family medicine program at Doctors Medical Center, Modesto, a training extension through the UC Davis Medical School. During her time in training, she returned to rural Superior Nebraska to complete proficiency training in performing colonoscopies as part of her rural family medicine concentration. After residency, she moved to Arnold, CA where she worked under the fee for service model with her Husband doing full-scope care for over five years. Though grateful for her experience in this role, she was driven to seek a better way of life and a desire to practice insurance-free medicine and that was when she discovered DPC. She is the founder and host of the podcast My DPC Story, a weekly podcast that educates and inspires by featuring DPC and direct care physicians. Find it at and on all major podcasting platforms. Most recently, she became the CEO and wearer-of-all-the-other-hats at Big Trees MD, the first Direct Primary Care in Arnold, a rural town of 4,000 in the Stanislaus National Forest located in Northern California. Her clinic was created as a telemedicine and home visit model without a brick and mortar space. But, the title she is most proud of is being a Mama to Asher & Nolan, her two ridiculously awesome and cuddly boys!

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