Brittany Williams, DO, is a family medicine and primary care physician who cares for patients at LVPG Family Medicine-Trexlertown. During Black History Month, she emphasizes the value of resiliency.
Brittany Williams, DO, Emphasizes the Value of Seeing Diversity
At LVHN, we recognize Black History Month by sharing colleague stories
What does Black History Month mean to you?
As a Black physician, Black History Month is a moment to reflect. There have been many medical advances spearheaded by Black physicians. It was a Black physician, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, who performed one of the first successful open-heart surgeries in the 1800s. Even today, a Black female scientist, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, and her research played a vital role in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. Despite these contributions, Black History Month is also an unfortunate reminder of the strides we still must make to improve access to quality health care and discrimination for minority patients.
How has your culture influenced resiliency along your professional journey?
The road to becoming a physician is far from easy. This includes many years of education (college, medical school, residency training), recurring board exams, long hours, early mornings, continuous medical education and more. In those moments when I've felt like giving up, I think of the hardships and obstacles my ancestors had to overcome in America for me to have the opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming a physician. I think of the resilient women in my family who climbed the professional ladder despite being raised in poverty. I think of the mother who is excited to bring her Black daughter to see me in the office for her well-child visit. I think of the young Black male who is pursuing pre-med in undergrad and asks me to be his mentor. Being a physician isn't all pleasantries, but my patients make every experience worth it.
What advice would you give to colleagues during Black History Month?
See color! Too often we hear the phrase "I don't see color." This statement is indicative of privilege – the privilege to not have to think about race. Our country is colorful. Our patient panels are colorful. Color and race play key roles in medicine, and we must first acknowledge this very important aspect to be able to deliver quality care to our patients.