In Downtown Camas, there’s a pattern. No, not a traffic pattern or clues to a mystery. What you see are people born in and around Camas, growing up here, and finding their way back downtown to fulfill their careers and their lives.
That story goes for Trista Darling and theCamas Family Health Center.
She and husband Jesse are Camas natives, coming up through the schools together. As they went away to college, off to make a new life, Trista said she knew she wanted to help people in whatever line of work she was in.
“My family’s chiropractor, Dr. Forgey, along with my father, encouraged me to go down the chiropractic track as opposed to the medical track, which turned out to be excellent advice,” she said. “And that really fit my alternative health mind better.”
She ended up getting to work with Dr. Forgey for two years out of graduate school, before landing back in Camas with Dr. Patricia Smith. “Both opportunities I will forever be grateful for,” she said.
Patricia Smith started the Camas Family Health Center back in 1991. Trista and her family were certain they wanted to be back in Camas where they grew up, and she said it was a family member that brought her and Dr. Smith together where she was able to work for, and eventually purchase the chiropractic practice.
“Since I bought a well-established chiropractic and massage clinic, the biggest challenge for me was to switch from the role of employee to business owner overnight,” Trista explained. “We learn every detail about how to be an amazing chiropractor in graduate school. But back when I graduated in 2004, there was very little overall business education. Even now, 12 years into owning Camas Family Health Center, I continue to learn the ins and outs of being a small business owner and always strive to take each change and challenge with grace.”
Trista is the oldest of five siblings, all from a close Camas family. In fact, there are two other chiropractors in her family … her sister and brother-in-law. She works above her sister, Dr. Avery Colby, who is a naturopath at her clinic Petal and Thorn. “We’ve enjoyed being able to refer patients to each other for more integrated treatment opportunities,” Trista said.
Camas is our hometown where we are raising our three teenage girls, two high school freshmen (twins) and a senior. “And we are all extremely close, with all of my siblings and parents, and we value family time above all else,” she said.
Those values extend into her practice. Trista said it’s most important in her business to “be honest and treat our patients with respect every single day. We know they have many chiropractors to choose from and are grateful to get the chance to prove our dedication in helping them heal and be the best version of themselves. We also have a great group of providers to refer to, so if chiropractic isn’t what our patient needs, we gladly help them find the right provider. Patients appreciate our unique treatments and honesty, which in turn provides a steady stream of ‘word of mouth’ referrals and good rapport.”
As the pandemic raged this past year, Trista said the practice re-arranged the entrance and exits of the building in order to accommodate hand washing as soon as entering.
“We also lessened the appointments available in order to accommodate social distancing and lessen exposure to all,” she said. “Unfortunately, the needs of our patients did not decrease during the pandemic which ended up causing a backup in being able to get in for a treatment. Our patients have been extremely understanding during this time and we are grateful for each and every one of them.”