By Mimi Towle
This Father’s Day, Curtis Robinson, M.D., father of five, will be enjoying his traditional breakfast in bed. Orchestrated by wife Xania and executed by Ismael, age 17, Italo, 16, Micaela, 12, Curtis, 6, and Semira, 4, the menu consists of eggs over easy, bacon, hash browns, toast, fruit and orange juice. “And if I am really lucky, I’ll get to run the Dipsea Trail and have someone pick me up at the beach,” he says. The pampering provides a well-deserved break from his usual busy schedule, which includes running a private family medical practice in Mill Valley, serving as president of the Marin County School Board, and dedicating at least four hours a week to the not-for-profit Marin City Health and Wellness Center.
Why Marin? I grew up in Mill Valley and went to Tam High School, and even after going to UCSB as an undergrad and UCLA for medical school, I always knew I wanted to get back to Marin. I took my first job in Arizona to help establish a family medicine residency program at the county hospital in Phoenix and then returned to Marin to work with low-income individuals and migratory farmworkers at Community Health Clinic Ole in Napa. I started private practice in Mill Valley in 2001 and have never looked back. For me there is no better place to raise a family and be a family doctor than Mill Valley.
How did your dad influence you? My dad played a major role in who I am today. Not only was he a decent human being and a good man, but he set the example of local leadership and volunteerism, which surpasses most who have ever lived in Marin County. He was the first African-American west of the Mississippi to become a United States federal marshal. He also served for over 40 years on the Marin County School Board and taught us all that giving back to your community through volunteerism is the best way for your community to thrive and prosper.
What keeps you going? Besides my wife and family, I love sports. I’m a tennis player and a runner. I also played a lot of soccer and baseball growing up in Mill Valley and love to see my kids play on the same fields and teams I played on as a child. In the winter we take the kids skiing, just like my parents took us. I’m definitely a sporty person.
How did you end up working with the Marin City Health and Wellness Center? I feel connected to Marin City because my dad lived there as a boy and many of my relatives still live there. I have a long résumé of working for improvement of community health indicators and access to health care. I ran a nonprofit called Health Relief International and have also been involved locally with the Empona Foundation, offering free breast cancer prevention and care to low-income women. Marin City is a forgotten place with significant health care needs, and the fact that I can think globally and act locally is awesome.
What else is needed? Well, volunteer physicians, private donations and further support from our local foundations. We need people and foundations who are committed (to working) toward closing the health care gap between Marin City residents and the rest of Marin County to step up to the plate and make positive change happen at the local level.
How has becoming a father changed your life? Where do I you start? I love being a father, a dad and a positive role model for my kids. I try to maintain some authority, yet be a friend. Because I grew up in the area, I really enjoy sharing with them the things we did as kids in Marin, such as Mill Valley Little League, picnics at Stinson Beach and experiences at Tam High. I’ve even gotten a couple of my kids to run the Dipsea with me. How wonderful is that!