Posts Tagged ‘medical school’

Photo: Likolani Arthurs Bro.
“Likolani Brown Arthurs [with her father, left] danced with the New York City Ballet for 15 years. Now, she’s moving to a new stage, NYU Langone’s operating theater,” says the New York Post.

Talk about planning ahead! This ballerina knew that dance would be a short career for her and wasn’t inclined to spend the rest of her life teaching ballet or creating choreography. She went to medical school instead.

Hannah Sparks reports at the New York Post, “Likolani Brown Arthurs, 36, spent 15 years dancing with the New York City Ballet. Now, she’s moving to a new stage: NYU Langone’s operating theater, where the retired ballerina will begin her surgical residency.

“With her 6-month-old son, Kaipo, on her hip, in a room full of hospital-bound hopefuls at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Arthurs opened her Match Day letter during the nationwide annual event, when medical students across the county learn where they will launch their careers as resident doctors.

“ ‘I realized a lot of the things I love about ballet exist here,’ she told the Post of her desire to enter the medical field, spurred by personal tragedy when she lost her father to cancer.

“Arthurs, also mother to 2-year-old Bronson, may have struggled with some imposter syndrome during her uncommon career change. ‘I came in questioning if I would fit in.’ …

“Her transition from the ranks of one of the world’s most storied dance companies to the roster of world-class heath-care providers in NYC was never in step with the Hawaii-born daughter of an activist and a lawyer. ‘Not everyone comes from these “doctor families,” ‘ she said of her entry into medicine. …

“Arthurs set out at 16 to join the ranks of NYC’s prestigious School of American Ballet — just weeks before the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

She recalled being told that ballet practice would go on as scheduled even after the first tower had been struck. ‘I remember riding the elevators up to change and seeing only one tower still standing. And then when I came down, after changing, both towers were down. That’s when they canceled everything and we took some time off,’ said Arthurs. …

“It was a ‘very special place,’ she said of her experience at SAB, which culminated with her landing a coveted spot — one of 10 placements — with the New York City Ballet. … After a yearlong apprenticeship, she scored a contract with the company’s corps de ballet, making it official.

“ ‘I turned down Harvard,’ the self-described math and science geek told the Post. ‘I knew I could only dance when I was young.’ … Her successful tenure included dancing some of her dream roles, including all three of ballet legend George Balanchine’s ‘Jewels’ … as well as the ‘mysterious’ Arabian dance solo of ‘The Nutcracker.’ …

“ ‘I always thought ballet would be it for me,’ she remembered, but couldn’t shake the feeling she had more to do. … An inclination toward STEM led her to believe she should go pre-med at Columbia University, which she credited with guiding her to the right coursework in her spare time ‘when the theater was dark.’ …

“She could see parallels between medicine and dance during her early days as an emergency room volunteer. ‘I saw a lot of teamwork,’ she said. ‘A lot of creativity and artistry there.’ And the rush she got ‘was similar to what I felt on the stage during a live performance.’

“At NYU, she would eventually land on her calling in general surgery, guided in part by the untimely death of her father due to a slow-growing sarcoma that, at the time it was discovered 18 years prior, required an incredibly invasive open-chest surgery to access. Unfortunately, close monitoring of his disease ‘fell through the cracks.’ By the time he began to show advanced symptoms, his condition was no longer treatable.

“ ‘I just felt that if a surgeon had attended to him earlier in his course, especially with the new advances … things could have been different for him,’ she said.”

More at the New York Post, here. (Lovely ballet photos. No firewall.)

Read Full Post »

Photo: Russell Ledet
Russell Ledet in his job as a security guard at Baton Rouge General Medical Center in 2010 and as a medical student there in 2020.

As readers know from my post on Shagufa Habibi, I am one of a group of people who believe in this young Afghan immigrant and her dream to end child marriages, first by gaining relevant skills. It doesn’t matter that the dream seems impossibly big. After all, when people believe in you, big things do happen. Young Greta Thunberg may not have ended global warming, but you know she won’t stop until there are serious changes.

Today’s story is about a young man from a poor family in Lake Charles, Louisiana, who had people who believed in him.

As Kellie B. Gormly wrote at the Washington Post, “Russell J. Ledet spent four years patrolling the doctors’ parking lot at Baton Rouge General Medical Center, where, as a security guard, he watched people in white coats come and go from the building. He fantasized about what his life could be.

“In a moment of bravery one day, Ledet was walking with a doctor and asked: ‘Hey, do you think I could shadow you?’ To Ledet’s surprise, the doctor, a surgical resident, replied: ‘Yeah, why not?’ Ledet recalled.

“Whenever Ledet had free time over the next several months, he was in the operating room and visiting patients with Patrick Greiffenstein.

“ ‘It just so happened, God put me in the right place at the right time, and it worked,’ said Ledet, 34, of Gretna, La.

“Now, seven years after he was a security guard at Baton Rouge General Medical Center, Ledet is assigned to the hospital as a medical student. He is doing his pediatrics rotation at the Louisiana hospital and is in his third year at Tulane University School of Medicine. …

“He sometimes runs into people he used to work with when he was a guard. Once when he was recently in the emergency room, one of them yelled out: ‘You did it! You actually did it!’

“Ledet grew up in Lake Charles, La., with a single mother who worked as a certified nursing assistant. They relied on food stamps to eat. After high school, Ledet joined the Navy and was stationed in Washington, D.C., from 2004 to 2007. He entered the Reserves, and his wife — Mallory Alice Brown-Ledet, whom he met in high school — persuaded him to go to college while she worked at a bank. They moved back to Louisiana in 2009, and Ledet enrolled in Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge.

“Ledet initially thought he would become a social worker, like the ones who had helped his family when he was a child. But one day, his chemistry professor told him that based on his performance in class, he should major in biology or chemistry. Ledet took on both sciences as a double major. That same year, he started the security-guard job to help support his family — which included a new baby, Maleah. …

“The doctor whom Ledet shadowed 10 years ago — now is a trauma surgeon at University Medical Center in New Orleans. … ‘It’s hard not to like him right away,’ said Greiffenstein, explaining why, in part, he said yes when Ledet asked to shadow him. He said Ledet’s path to becoming a doctor has been ‘remarkable.’

“Ledet graduated from college in 2013 and … moved east with his family to attend New York University, where he earned a PhD in molecular oncology in 2018. … His research on prostate cancer earned recognition, but Ledet fondly recalled his shadowing days in Baton Rouge and felt called to the clinical, hands-on work of a physician. …

“About an hour after his second daughter, Mahlina, was born, Ledet got an email from Tulane University in New Orleans: a full scholarship to medical school. …

“Over the summer, Ledet started his third-year rotations, after indicating his location preference for Baton Rouge General Medical Center. He was thrilled when he got it. …

“He plans to open a clinic in New Orleans offering mental health services for marginalized communities. And to be a better business owner, Ledet managed to squeeze in one more project: He is working on an MBA while in medical school. …

“ ‘I’m just grateful, man,’ he said. ‘I’m grateful I made it here. I’m grateful that I didn’t give up. I’m grateful that people believed in me.’ ”

Read more here.

There are just some people who if they say they are going to do a thing, then you know it’s going to happen.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: