After moving from place to place for her education and career as a gynecologist, Dr. Jessica Shepherd (mom of Chance, 6, and Miles, 4) chose to make her home in East Dallas two years ago—because of White Rock Lake. “I lived in New York; there’s water. Then in Chicago, there’s the lake, and [there are] even lakes in Toronto, so it felt familiar. I’ve been by water in all these various cities where I’ve lived.” Her husband Marvin is an architectural engineer who is involved in large projects such as Klyde Warren Park and DART, so Dallas’ growth is a major plus. There’s an energy here that fuels Shepherd’s whole family.
What has been your favorite part about your move to East Dallas? We both wanted our children to have a big city, urban experience in an area that is close to the arts, thrives on creativity and includes diversity. I just get a really good quirky vibe from East Dallas. I love that kind of flavor, where you’re like, What kind of shop is that? There are a lot of mom–and–pop shops. A lot of artists live in the Forest Hills area; they’ll have art tours or [shows] in the actual studios in the homes. This feels to me like a great combination of the cities that we’ve lived in.
Had you ever been to Dallas before you moved here? When I was at OU, we would come down here, obviously, for OU–Texas or occasionally for weekends. To me at that point, because I lived in Toronto, I thought Dallas was small. So fast forward 20 years to when we were living in Chicago and made the decision to move to Dallas—I still thought the city was small, because by that time I’d lived in Chicago, New York and Philly. And then when I got here, I was pleasantly surprised at the growth. I found very quickly within the first six months to a year of being here that there’s a culture of wanting to really thrive and grow.
Your sons are Dallas ISD students. What prompted you to make that decision? When we were moving here, we looked at a variety of neighborhoods and schools. Initially, they went to the Jewish Community Center. And that was amazing, because it was a completely comfortable transition for us; they went to the JCC in Chicago. I wanted my kids to be exposed to a different culture.
And then for schools, I felt like I wanted one somewhat close to where we live, close access to downtown, and I wanted them to be able to be somewhere that is close to the arts and close to a variety of people. And that’s why we chose a DISD school. I researched all of them, and obviously every city has issues when you talk about a public school system, but there are also real benefits. I think we found like a great home for them as far as schooling. I’m happy with that.
How did you find mom friends when you came here? My local mom squad came through my sons’ school, Solar Prep for Boys. We have a great network of moms from every walk of life, and I was immediately able to connect with them and find moms I can spend time with while our boys play together.
What’s your favorite family restaurant near you? Our go–to for good food, wine pairings, comfy ambiance and great kids menu is Cedar & Vine in Lake Highlands.
What is your family’s favorite outing? We love exploring all the restaurants in East Dallas since there is so much spunk and creativity! Places like Greenville Avenue Pizza, Local Traveler or Cultivar Coffee. We also love taking bike rides in the neighborhood because it has so many trees and cool architecture.
What about a place for a night out? Definitely the patio of Smoky Rose or Local Traveler for some great bites and chill cocktails.
You’re a mom of two young boys, a wife and an OB–GYN. How do you make sure you take care of yourself? Self–care is making time for your wellness. I especially love woman–owned businesses and go to Session Pilates, and I follow the yoga instructor Georgette Dunn of @readysetflow whenever she teaches. It’s important to have good energy from the people who create your arena of wellness.
You have made wellness a large part of your medical practice. Why was this a priority for you? I have kind of forged my career as an OBGYN to really take it out of the spectrum of just health. Obviously, I spent so many years in school learning about disease management and treatment and how to do that really well. But what I found coming out of residency, as I was starting to now see my own patients, was that the relationship that I could foster with my patients would be better served if I could integrate wellness into it.
I believe health and wellness are two different pillars. The wellness side of it is really one of those things that you take out of the office and the four walls of the exam room that you want to implement into your lifestyle. That’s ultimately going to impact your health in a positive way.
I’ve tried to focus on those other things—whether it’s emotional health, or sexual wellness—and bring them up very candidly in the office. It’s like planting seeds and allowing people, when they leave, to really think about it. I want them to think about if they’re willing to explore those journeys, meditation, yoga, going to a therapist and so on.
As I peel away the layers [with my patients] and figure out maybe some emotional areas that could be addressed, I may send them to a chiropractor or an acupuncturist. Those are the things that I really feel can make this wonderful atmosphere of health and wellness.
Speaking of wellness, what’s your favorite way to get active near you? Going to local parks and sites such as the Dallas Arboretum, Flag Pole Hill and also the local gyms for a short work out.
Where do you cool off in the summer? Ice cream trips are always fun for the family, and the boys love trying new spots. We enjoy Creamistry, Melt Ice Cream, Paciugo Gelato and Steel City Pops.
What is your favorite local green space? Definitely White Rock Lake. There are so many things to do while seeing the water and the Dallas skyline.
How do you and your family give back to your community? We volunteer through our church, Concord Church, and also with local schools to help raise awareness in diversity and exposure to STEM through engineering and medicine, which my husband and I both work in.
Jewish Community Center of Dallas // 7900 Northaven Road, Dallas
Solar Preparatory School for Boys // 1802 Moser Ave., Dallas
Cedar & Vine // 9661 Audelia Road, Suite 105, Dallas
Greenville Avenue Pizza Company // 1923 Greenville Ave., Dallas
Local Traveler // 7522 E. Grand Ave., Dallas
Cultivar Coffee Bar & Roaster // 1155 Peavy Road, Dallas (with an additional location in Oak Cliff)
Smoky Rose // 8602 Garland Road, Dallas
Session Pilates // 6465 E. Mockingbird Lane, Suite 320, Dallas (with additional Dallas locations)
Georgette Dunn @readysetflow // readysetflowco.com
Dallas Arboretum // 8525 Garland Road, Dallas
Flag Pole Hill // 8015 Doran Circle, Dallas
Creamistry // 2301 N. Akard St., Suite 260, Dallas (more DFW locations)
Melt Ice Cream // 405 N Bishop Ave., Dallas (more DFW locations)
Paciugo Gelato // 2115 Abrams Road, Dallas (more DFW locations)
Steel City Pops // 2012 Greenville Ave., Dallas (more DFW locations)
White Rock Lake // 8300 East Lawther Drive; Dallas
Concord Church // 6808 Pastor Bailey Drive, Dallas
Lives in East Dallas
Hails from Born in Toronto, Canada, but moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, as a teen
Occupation Gynecologist and women’s health media expert
Significant Other Marvin Jackson, an architectural engineer
Offspring Chance, 6, and Miles, 4
Alma mater University of Oklahoma and Ross University School of Medicine
Find her at @dallasgynecologist
Photo courtesy of Carter Rose.