Vanderbilt University’s neurosurgery residency program will welcome its first Black woman resident in nearly a century.
Dr. Tamia Potter is the first African-American woman to accept a post in neurosurgery at the university’s medical center in Nashville, Tennessee.
The 26-year-old learned the news on March 17, also known as National Match Day among medical students, when thousands of graduate medical students learn where they will complete their residency training.
The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) graduate shared the exciting and historic news on Twitter Friday.
“My first job was a certified nursing assistant at 17 years old in 2014. Today, on March 17, 2023, I was blessed to be selected as the first African American female neurosurgery resident to train at [Vanderbilt University Medical Center for neurosurgery],” she wrote.
According to the most recent statistics from the Association of American Medical Colleges, only 5.7% of doctors in the United States identify as Black or African American. A 2019 report from the association found that only 33 Black women were working in neurosurgery in the United States in 2018.
Dr. Reid Thompson, professor and chair of the Tennessee-based university’s Department of Neurological Surgery, shared that Vanderbilt trained its first neurosurgery resident in 1932, making Potter the first Black woman to join in 91 years.
Potter graduated summa cum laude from FAMU with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2018. She said that being a graduate of FAMU shows that attending an HBCU doesn’t preclude you from “attaining everything that you want to and making your dreams come true.”
Potter told CNN that she first met a Black woman neurosurgeon in medical school, and the representation encouraged her to believe in herself. She now hopes to inspire others for students who come after her.
“Everything that I’m doing, everything that I’m learning, everything that I experience is for the betterment of someone else,” Potter said.