Monday, December 5, 2011

A Day In Her Life Interview With Dr. Tomekia Strickland

Dr. Tomekia Strickland
A Day In Her Life: Dr. Tomekia Strickland, Obstetrician and Women’s Health/Maternal Child Health Advocate at Tucson Medical Center in Arizona.

Her Day Begins…
Early with a simple tweet quoting the legendary journalist Belva Davis that reads, “Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you dream it, you can make it so.” The inspirational quote could just as easily summarize Dr. Tomekia Strickland’s spirit and life mantra as a compassionate physician on a never-ending quest to help heal the human spirit, using medicine as her medium. Her main goal, as she will tell you, is to “help, heal, love, inspire” each and every day.


The minute the hospital doors swing open that morning, she’s on.  More than likely the day will be intense and rushed, and it could easily proceed well into the next day depending on what awaits her when she arrives. The days for an obstetrician can be a rapid sequence of rewarding, sometimes heart wrenching moments of delivering babies, performing surgeries, caring for an expecting mother, comforting a mother who has just miscarried and educating a young mother about contraception-all while mentoring other young physicians on a daily basis.
Dr. Strickland and Patient

“One minute you can have a healthy mother and a healthy baby and then the next minute they’re at risk …so being able to manage situations like that and then being able to cope when situations don’t always go as desired can be an emotional, challenging part of it,” explains Dr. Strickland. “Many times you have issues where you have to respond to something in a second.”

For Strickland, her career extends far beyond any hospital wall. It is a deep spiritual calling that has taken her half way across the world in the fight for women’s health and global health issues. Even with all she has already accomplished, it seems Strickland is just getting started with all she has planned for changing the world around her, one patient at a time.

The Journey…
Born in Atlanta, Strickland nurtured her natural curiosity about science as a teenager while attending the Benjamin E. Mays Academy of Math and Science. It was there she was introduced to the Morehouse School of Medicine for the first time taking part in bio medical research before majoring in biology at the illustrious Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. Many years, national science competitions and awards later, she would return to Morehouse on full scholarship, where she received her doctorate in medicine.

In medical school more accolades followed including the Dr. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Disease Fellowship Award by the Centers for Disease Control for her research work at Alaskan Native Hospital in Anchorage. But it was her experience working with HIV positive women at a prenatal clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa that ignited her even more about the parallels of women and children in other countries who struggled for access to adequate healthcare.


“Just looking at them often times you never know their reality,” she says of her work in South Africa. “Rates of HIV among young women in those parts of the world are disproportionately higher than we see here.”

Following her residency, she spent just over four years living and working on Native American reservation Chinle, Arizona, caring for women and children, sometimes in places with no electricity or running water.

“When you are in a place of true adversity, when you’re truly seeing people suffer…you identify more with the human spirit,” she says.  

Now aligned with an even deeper sense of purpose, the doctor has evolved her role more into a global advocate for female maternal health in developing countries like Haiti, Africa and India as an outspoken supporter for several major organizations like singer Alicia Keys’ "Keep a Child Alive"  foundation and the Liya Kebede Foundation. She proudly volunteers as a maternal advocate for UNICEF and a blue key champion for the UN Refugee Program. She’s written articles dissecting issues such as the famine aid in Somalia for media outlets such as the Huffington Post. Ultimately Strickland says her priority is helping others and always being accessible to people in need, be it as a doctor or otherwise. She encourages other women to do the same, just simply by being an example.

“There are millions of people in the world and everyone can choose something that’s meaningful to them. So we can all disperse support everywhere.”

Her Advice to You…
“Never let the concept of your gender, your race, or the commitment of time intimidate you from what you really want to do in life.  Stress is everywhere, so you might as well do what you are passionate about.”

Best Part of My Job…
“The gift of being one of the first persons to touch a newborn. It’s always a new sense of promise. It’s a beautiful fusion of spirituality and science.”

To find out more about Dr. Tomekia Strickland’s journey, please visit her website: http://drstricklandobgyn.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter: @DrStrickland.

Featured Writer: Lenora Houseworth is a published writer, editor and social media strategist. She can be reached at lenora.houseworth@gmail.com. Find her on Twitter: @LHouseTweets. 

A “Day in Her Life” blog series gives an insider view into the professional lives of successful women from various fields with the intended purpose of educating and inspiring the next generation of BOSS women.

2 comments:

  1. This is such an amazing article! First off many thanks to the BOSS Network for supplying motivational and inspiring content. Secondly, Lenora what an awesome illustration!
    And finally, I appreciate the work and life Dr.Strickland, every life is precious and she has the privilege to deliver beautiful moments every day. Dr. Strickland gives back and you can't ask for more than that!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you sooooo much Lashana. I am so glad you enjoyed it!

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