Multiple Black students at MSD plan on pursuing jobs in the medical field

February 28, 2022


Mariapaz Santacoloma

Statistics about black health and wellness suggest unfair treatment toward African-Americans according to the Center for Disease Control.

While always a need in society, the medical field has become cornerstone since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the 2022 Black History Month theme being “Black Health and Wellness,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has a variety of Black females who are planning to join the medical field. Whether it be as a travel nurse or therapist, these students are putting in the work towards a profession in medicine.

According to the Florida government’s physician workforce annual report, only about 5.4% of all members in the medical field are Black American, with the other 94.6% being a mixture of Hispanic Americans, White, Native American, Asian and more. There has also been a steady increase of minority races working in the medical field since 2008. These students are gradually raising that percent, creating a more diverse medical workplace.

Playful Practitioner

Senior Rachel Georges is planning to join the medical field as a pediatric nurse practitioner. She hopes to reach this goal by attending Nova Southeastern University.

“I hope to inspire other young black women to defeat the stereotypes and go beyond what we are set to do,” Georges said. “It is important because firstly it’s a safe place, it’s an ‘okay’ to know that they will be treated well and not discriminated against, and also an inspiration for others to see people just like them succeeding.”

Georges always refers back to her inspiration, retired neurosurgeon and politician Benjamin Carson.

“I watched a movie about him as a black young man that struggled in school. He was discriminated against because of his skin, yet succeeded to be an amazing neurosurgeon,” Georges said. “He proved to me that despite who you are or where you came from, you can always succeed.”

Georges understands that even in today’s world, people of color are still discriminated against. This understanding could lead to many challenges while Georges works towards her degree; she is fearful because she believes since she is as a minority, she could be rejected not only by colleges but denied many job opportunities. However, she plans on doing everything she can to be successful and to earn her degree as a pediatric nurse practitioner.

“Being a minority and succeeding in the medical field can be challenging, because one, we are often discouraged to no succeed beyond the ‘norm’ and two, discrimination in the medical field is still very much prevalent, making it much harder to even land a job/get into med school,” Georges said.

Mental Health Motivator

Therapists have become a very important part of many people’s lives as mental health is becoming increasingly recognized in society. Senior Samia King plans to major in psychology and eventually become a therapist. Her dreams are to graduate with a pre-med degree and begin helping those in need immediately after.

“I want to be a clinical therapist because I’d like to start with talking to my patients first, since I don’t really agree with the theology of drugging patients and forcing them to comply,” King said. “I feel like if they want to help themselves they would, you don’t have to use force. You have to work in methods and then you can give your patients meds for reasons and also to an extent.”

King, like Georges, is also aware of the struggles she may face earning her medical degree as a minority. She feels as though her skin color could be a major setback. However, as long as everything from college to the medical workplace is kept professional, she feels that she can do great things as a therapist.

“I think that every Black person in the United States has struggles, but in the medical field and as a Black woman trying to reach the top above white people, you will have obstacles,” King said. “They will put so much doubt in you to not succeed, they will try so hard to sabotage you to have a setback. However, those are the struggles I have to overcome because those people are not going to help me reach where I want to go.”

Pediatric Precision

It is also important to have Black doctors for children to make sure their care is prioritized. Senior Kendall Slack hopes to one day become a pediatric surgeon. With her mother being a pharmacist, as well as her participation in a three-year medical program in middle school, Slack has known for a while that she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field, more specifically as a pediatric surgeon. 

I think it’s important for Black people to see representation in the medical field so that they can relate to someone and feel safe. This allows them to actually get help and not avoid medical attention,” Slack said. “As a Black professional in the medical field, I hope to diminish at least some stereotypes and give help to anybody who needs it, no questions asked.

While Slack is currently unsure where she wants to attend to obtain her Bachelor’s degree, she hopes to attend the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, which is currently ranked within the Top 50 medical schools in the United States. 

With only 2% of pediatric surgeons in the country being Black, Slack is hoping to bring change to her field. 

“I believe that Black mental and physical [health] isn’t taken as seriously as other races. When I become a doctor, I am going to make sure to do my part and make sure to take it seriously,” Slack said. 

Athletic Aide

Similar to Slack, senior Leah DuBreuze also has a family member who is a pharmacist, her grandfather. DuBreuze’s grandfather has served as a great point of contact for her family, which led her to want to be able to do the same thing for athletes in her family. 

“It is important that in Black health and wellness that we take care of ourselves. There has always been a stigma about going to the doctor and getting treatment,” DuBreuze said. “The knowledge of how our bodies function and how it needs to be taken care of is important to a better way of life.”

A dancer since the age of five and a player on the MSD women’s varsity basketball team since her sophomore year, DuBreuze credits her motivation to pursue a career in sports medicine to her athletic ability. 

“Being an athlete, I want to work in sports medicine, either in physical therapy or kinesiology. These fields specifically work with people who are recovering from an injury to restore strength range of motion,” DuBreuze said. 

While DuBreuze is interested in attending a few schools, going to the University of Miami is one of her biggest aspirations. By joining the medical field, DuBreuze hopes to serve as an inspiration for younger generations that they can be whatever they want to be. 

While it is unknown each of these students’ journey to their goal, their efforts are certain to make for a better society. With the help of those in the medical field, society would not be the same. In addition to the importance of doctors, representation within the medical field allows younger generations to see that they too can achieve great heights.

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