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: or follow her on Twitter: @DrStrickland.

Featured Writer: Lenora Houseworth is a published writer, editor and social media strategist. She can be reached at 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.

Managing Holiday Stress Tips For The Female BOSS

The end of the year and holiday season typically mark a festive time with an abundance of invitations to holiday parties and social gatherings. For entrepreneurs, the end of the year is also the time for fourth quarter financial and business reporting, end of year employee evaluations, company goals review, contract re-negotiations and so much more.  As women entrepreneurs with multiple obligations and demanding personal and professional roles, we often find ourselves dealing with excessive stress during this time of year.  Stress can take a heavy toll on our mental health and overall well-being.  Fortunately, there are some effective ways to manage stress.  Five strategies are outlined below:

1) Find a Support System
Seek professional help from a licensed therapist or life coach; join a support network or organization, such as the BOSS Network or talk to a friend or family member who is a non-judgmental good listener.

2) Take Care of the Physical You
Eat healthy, exercise and get a good night’s sleep.  Regularly, eat well-balanced meals that are low in sugar and low in salt; engage in a physical activity such as walking, running, aerobics, gardening, swimming, or tennis; and make a habit of getting 6 – 8 hours of sleep per night.   

3) Get in Touch with your Spiritual Self
I have found in my practice that our clients who have some connection to their spiritual self, show fewer symptoms of stress.  Take time daily to meditate for 5 – 10 minutes, practice yoga, or become involved in an organized religious practice, such as praying or attending a religious service.

4) Find Time to Relax
Entrepreneurs may work upwards of 70 hours per week.  Make time in your schedule to relax and do something that you find enjoyable.  Look at your calendar and schedule a weekly “break”, such as a massage, lunch date, a visit to a park or museum, a nail, hair or spa appointment, or an exercise or yoga class.

5) Practice Visualization
When you begin to feel stress coming on, stop, close your eyes, and visualize a peaceful, calm, beautiful place.  Pay attention to the colors you see and the sounds you hear.  Are you sitting, standing or lying down?  How is the weather or temperature?  Are you alone?  Remain in this peaceful place for 5 minutes.  When you open your eyes, you should feel a bit calmer.

Ladies, do what it takes to put these 5 stress management strategies to use and you will be amazed at how much better you feel.  During this season, take some time to focus on you.  As women, we have a tendency to put the needs of others before our own, but it is absolutely important that we first address our own mental health needs so that we can more effectively address the needs of our employees and family members.  I hope you have a stress-less, happy holiday season!    

Sunday, December 4, 2011


David Tutera and Lucky Bride
Thursday evening, a few BOSS ladies had the opportunity to attend David Tutera -- celebrity wedding planner and star of WE tv’s MY FAIR WEDDING –  intimate dinner with local Chicago press at Devon Seafood Grill. Tutera was in town promoting the fifth season of his popular show, in which he gives everyday brides the wedding makeover of their dreams. Guests dined on scallops and salmon, while previewing an upcoming episode. Attendees were given a DVD copy of the best of MFW -- Weddings WE Love: My Fair Wedding with David Tutera – and a rhinestone pin from Bridal Collection by David Tutera. To cap off the night, one lucky guest – NBC Chicago’s Pam Oliver – walked away with a diamond watch from David’s jewelry line at Sears. “I have the greatest job in the world,” said Tutera during the post-screening Q&A. “I get to be a part of the happiest day of people’s lives.”

MY FAIR WEDDING with DAVID TUTERA airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on WE tv! Visit the show at

Episode 4:  “TUSCANY BRIDE”
Bride Jane just loves Tuscany, Italy, and wants her romantic outdoor wedding to resemble it. But her vision of Tuscany is more than a little skewed, and her bright orange bridesmaids’ dresses are only adding to the disaster. Worst of all, Jane, her fiancé and her father all just lost their jobs. With the wedding plans going up in smoke, David harnesses his skills to bring Tuscany to southern California and create the wedding of his bride’s dreams.

Episode 6:  “HOLLYWOOD GLAM BRIDE” ß This is the ep we showed at the dinner
Bride Benita and her fiancé, Arlen, are both actors, and fittingly want a Hollywood glam wedding.   But having procrastinated on all of the details, Benita’s decorations are better suited for a child’s birthday party.  The ‘Old Hollywood’ glitz and glam are seemingly absent from this wedding.  David steps in and takes his bride and groom back in time with wedding fashions from the ‘40s, ’50s and ‘60s.  Can he pull together a swinging, classy affair for this couple in time?

VIDEO Clip from 12/4 episode (“Jane’s Ring”):