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Against All Odds: Black Women in Medicine

crystal emery against all odds 1

Crystal Emery’s newest project showcases Black women doctors and shines a light on the need for more of us in that field. Read more about why I loved being in the room for this book signing in this sponsored post.

book cover photo
Photo credit: Meredith Hurston, 2015

Crystal Emery has boldly taken on the responsibility of celebrating Black Women in medicine, as well as highlighting the low numbers of Black women in the field. In her new book Against All Odds: Black Women in Medicine,  Ms. Emery captivates the reader with striking portraits and short biographical essays of more than 100 Black Women doctors. The book is an excellent companion to her documentary film, Changing the Face of Medicine. As a health influencer, I have so many great things to say about this exciting project.

On Dec. 9, I attended the D.C. launch and book signing for Against All Odds: Black Women in Medicine. It was a delight to meet several of the doctors who’s inspiring stories are featured in the book. I mean there was Black girl magic all over the room.

doctors at against all odds book signing D.C.
Pictured R to L: Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston, Dr. Nikki Waddell-Wilson, Dr. Vikisha Fripp, Dr. Denice Cora-Bramble, Dr. Linda Holifield-Kennedy and Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey. Photo credit: George Bumbray 2015

Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston proudly claimed her rank as eldest among the doctors. She began her career as a Pediatrician and eventually became the 1st African-American woman to become director of the Bureau of Primary Health Care in the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. She is humble, has a heart for the underserved and shared some great advice with me for young people. Dr. Nikki Waddell-Wilson is a primary care doctor, with her own practice Kingstowne Internal Medicine in Alexandria, VA. Dr. Vikisha Fripp is a board certified plastic surgeon practicing in D.C and Maryland. Dr. Denice Cora-Bramble is a Pediatrician and is Chief Medical Officer and an Executive Vice-president at Children’s National Health System in D.C.  Dr. Linda Holifield-Kennedy is Chief Medical Officer for Civilian Employee Health Services at the Pentagon. Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey is president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a well-respected philanthropic organization dedicated to improving the culture of health and healthcare for all Americans.

Ms. Emery displays her commitment to our youth in this project by featuring some young future doctors in the book. What an honor it must have been for these 2 young ladies when Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey stopped by their table during the book signing.

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey and young future doctors
Pictured L to R Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, young future doctor Angel Coe Miller & Kyana Kelly. Photo credit: George Bumbray

One of the driving forces behind this project are wise words by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, “you can’t be what you can’t see.” This propelled Crystal, despite her own adversity, to tell the stories of these doctors for our young women and girls to see and imitate. It’s no surprise to me that there has been broad support for Crystal with this endeavor. As you may be able to tell, she’s fun to work with. Her candid comments about cardiac surgeon, Dr. Jennifer Ellis are a hoot!

The common theme among the doctors present for the book signing is they have determination, know how to stay the course and overcome in spite of adversity. That’s actually true of each of them featured in the documentary and book. None of them let limitations stop them from achieving their goals. None of them took no for an answer. They are just like me. I see me in them. From an early age, my mom taught me I had 2 strikes against me, 1 I’m black and 2 I’m a woman. The cards might have been stacked against me, just like all these phenomenal doctors. However, we can all triumph Against All Odds.

Order the book HERE -> Against All Odds: Black Women in Medicine 

Watch the trailer for the documentary HERE -> Changing the Face of Medicine

Listen to the podcast here [coming soon]

be true to who you are crystal emery

-Namaskar “the God within me honors the God within you.”

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