From Average to Elite: Black Execellence in the Medical Field

 

“It is important for African American women to realize we can be doctors too”

 

Meet Dominque Baldwin, Dominique is an inspiring dentist. As a young girl, Baldwin’s mother pushed her towards the medical field,  encouraging her to shadow local physicians at an early age.

Dominque soon realized that wasn’t her dream. Baldwin wanted to be in the medical field, but she didn’t know what field to pursue. Her sister, Taylor, suggested that she look into dentistry. Baldwin obliged.

Dominque hopes to achieve the impossible. According to research, “Only around 5 percent of practicing physicians are black.” It was expressed in NBC Healthy news that “Black patients are more likely to feel comfortable with black doctors” and “black doctors are more likely to practice in undeserved communities.” Black patients are more likely to follow “certain preventative measures delivered by black doctors.”

Poverty stricken communities may not have the access to medical care as other communities. Readily available physicians in these communities are necessary. In others words, representation matters.

Baldwin aspires to serve the rural areas as well as volunteer at local free clinics and correctional facilities. For Dominique, dentistry is like working with arts and craft. She loves the “challenge of performing intricate procedures in the smallest part of the body, the mouth.” IamchicInpires interviewed Dominque because we believe what Domnique is pursing is Excellence.

 

1.What inspires you?

What inspired me to become a dentist was we need more African American female leaders in the medical field. Unfortunately, African Americans only make up about 3.4 percent of dentists in the United States. Personally, I am not comfortable with how low that number is. It is important for young AA females to understand WE CAN BE DOCTORS TOO.

2. What is it like to have your sister in school with you?

Honestly, it was weird at first, but only because everyone made it weird. It was shocking to everyone when they realized we were both in the same class. Their reactions went on for several months. I can’t tell you how many times people ask if we are twins. Overall, I love being in school with her. It is like having a 24/7 support system. I also like we split rent.

3. How does your sister motivate you?

I feed off of my sister’s accomplishments. When I see she is able to get good grades on exams or do well on different procedures, it motivates me. I put in extra work so I can achieve the same thing. I think to myself, if my sister can do it, then I certainly can too.

4. Could you do this without her?

Of course, but it makes this journey easier.

5. How does one become a dentist?

First, you have to complete 4 years of undergraduate studies taking specific pre- dental courses. By default, you have to maintain decent grades throughout undergrad. To make yourself stand out in when applying to dental school, extracurricular activities and volunteer work are needed. Before you can get in, you have to take the DAT (dental admission test). The DAT is a standardized exam. Personally, I completed a 10 month dental assistant program at UNC to make my application shine. Once you interview and get in to dental school, you must complete 4 years and pass required licenses exams to be able to practice.
I plan to complete one year of residency training after I graduate from dental school to further my skills.

6. How is the transition from undergrad to this program?

I will definitely say that the transition was rough at first, but I got used to it quick. In undergrad, I didn’t have school from 8-5 everyday, so getting used to that was a challenging, but not impossible.

7. What is the hardest thing about this program?

The first year of dental school is probably the toughest. During your first year, you learn more than you ever thought your brain could comprehend. You also spend that year working on Typodont dental (fake practice teeth) learning how to do numerous procedures. The first year prepares you for the next. 

8. Do you have a good support system? If so how do they support and help you?

Yes. Other than my sister, I have family members who have consistently supported me financially and emotionally throughout my journey. One of the sweetest things my mom does is send me text messages with words of encouragement every week before my didactic exams. Small gestures like asking me about my day or buying me practice teeth also mean a lot to me.

9. Did you think it would be this hard or this easy?

A couple of dentists and dental students told me that dental school would be hard, but I did not know it was going to be as challenging as it is. Although dental school can be rough, it is doable. If a million dentists out here were able to successfully complete school, I know I can do it as well.

10. Where do you see yourself in the future?

I see myself working as an associate general dentist somewhere here in North Carolina after school and residency training. Eventually. Ny sister and I plan to open up a private practice together.

11. What would you say to anyone continuing their education or entering in the medical field?

Any advice? My number one piece of advice is to never spend a minute comparing yourself to anyone else trying to accomplish the same goals as you. Doing that can be very discouraging and demotivating. Everyone’s journey will be different, and that is okay.

 

*To keep up with Dominque Baldwin follower her on IG @_domidmd_*

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