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Posts Tagged ‘medical school’

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.

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