Dr. Craig Hisaka is the Founding Partner of Brookside Optometric Group. Born and raised in Stockton, he received his BA, BS and Doctorate at UC Berkeley and went on to earn a master’s degree in Public Health. His daughter, Alexis Hisaka, attended Lincoln High in Stockton, college at UC Davis and the University of San Francisco and now works for LinkedIn. His wife, Julie Hisaka, passed away 3 years ago after 41 years of marriage. She was a popular, innovative and effective administrator at Lincoln Unified School District.
While he was a student at UC, Craig's father died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack at 51 years old. Craig moved back home to Stockton to start his practice and take care of his mother. When he completed his Masters in Public Health, his research was “what consumers like and dislike about the health care system”. Through his research, he found that doctors do not spend the time to get to know patients as people and the visit becomes impersonal. When he opened the practice, Craig made a goal of spending time with his patients. His philosophy is to spend one hour with each patient and that hasn’t changed. Within 6 months of opening, his Optometric practice began to grow at a rapid rate, and for the past 38 years he’s had a backlog of patients of 4-6 weeks.
After graduation, he loved teaching and spent one day a week at UC teaching an academic course, "Ethics and Practice Management and taught in the Primary Care Clinic." He received the title of Full Clinical Professor, which was given to only 6 part time optometrists in the 50 year history of the school at that time.
Because the practice was growing so quickly, he asked some of his best students to join his practice after graduation and live in Stockton. Then he merged the successful practices in Stockton to form Brookside Optometric Group at our present location. He loves the administration part of the practice and since he is the "old man" of this group, he make sure they all work together for the goals of the practice!
On the days he sees his patients, Dr. Hisaka arrives at 5:30 am and spends an hour with every patient. He leaves about 6:30 pm and rest of the week he tries to do administration work. He loves being in the office: seeing the staff, other doctors, and wonderful patients.
Dr. Hisaka says that the center of his life is his daughter, Alexis. They are very close and talk every day. He loves to exercise several hours each day. While exercising, he studies his patients' file so he will know them once they come for an exam. For Craig, it is like seeing old friends every several years. He tells his students at UC Berkeley that by spending time with patients, you learn from them and build a relationship and trust.
The most significant story in Dr. Hisaka's life is the years he spent with his wife Julie, his soul mate and the reason for his success. During her later years Craig spent much of his time as a caregiver to his wife. He counts himself lucky to have had such great partners and staff who allowed him to spend so much time with her. Their dedication to the practice allowed him to focus on Julie and making sure she was comfortable, and to this day he feels indebted to the partners who made that possible.
When Julie passed away in 2012, Craig received almost 1000 cards of sympathy and hundreds of patients came to her funeral. He still receives calls from patients asking how he is doing. Craig says "I never realized how much people cared for me and my family." He will never forget those moments, because it has helped him heal and move forward with his life.
Dr. Hisaka tells his Optometry students, “If you don't take the time to know patients, you are missing the greatest gift of a practice. The philosophy of the office has worked well for me, I feel like I am the luckiest person alive.”