My Personal and Academic Journeys Met and Transformed My Leadership Platform

My words of wisdom for young women just starting their careers are to develop innovative ways to address new challenges that integrate their stories with their talents.

For my entire career, my patients’ stories had shaped my academic journey, including my decision to specialize in diabetes. During the Freddie Gray riots in Baltimore (April 2015), however, my personal journey outside of medicine and my academic journey powerfully intersected and transformed my leadership platform. Despite my achievements, the riots resurrected concerns that I share with fellow African-American women who live in Baltimore City. Forty-seven years after the Civil Rights Movement, issues of race and inequities were still dividing our communities.

In response I established a five-part lecture series—Journeys in Medicine—to address how race and background inform our worldview and relationships, and to develop approaches to building a culture of respect and improving our community. This effort has evolved into a department-wide Civic Engagement Initiative. Sharing our own personal journeys and hearing the stories of our colleagues provides fertile ground for enhancing collaboration and engaging a diverse and inclusive workforce.