Rhea Boyd, MD
Pediatrician and Child Health Advocate
My name is Rhea Boyd, and I am a pediatrician and child health advocate. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a pediatrician - not just as a doctor and seeing patients, but because I had the perception that pediatricians were health advocates, who protected kids. And I wanted to speak up for kids.
"It took me until residency to realize that I could be a doctor and an advocate, 100%. As in this could be my profession, I could make money from it, it could be my career. In a lot of educational tracks, the two ideas are separate. If you want to be a doctor, take pre-med classes. Humanities classes don’t contribute. But that doesn’t make sense. I could not have gone through college and had as meaningful experience I had, if I had to separate the two. A lot of my interests are drawn from my own lived experiences as a black woman—realizing that life for me and family, is intimately related to where we work, where we play, where we go to school. And it is for everyone."
"People think being a good doctor means being one of the ones who get great grades in pre-med classes. But the bottom line is: there is threshold for what you need to be a good doctor, and that is the purpose of your education. If you take those classes and pass, you’re at that threshold. What makes you a truly good doctor is how you talk to people, relate to people, understand how they make complex decisions in their lives. You can’t teach that. You have to learn that in your own life. Don’t be discouraged, if you are the one getting mediocre grades and you think this is not for you, but you really care about people and work hard in other settings. You are the ideal candidate for medical school. Don’t let people tell you otherwise - not parents or counselors. I don’t care if you have a C in Orgo, I haven’t used it since that class ended. You don’t need Orgo to talk with teenager about their STD. But you do need non-judgmental manner, need to be relatable, be kind."
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