Florida A&M University alumna, Tamia Potter makes history as Vanderbilt University’s neurosurgery residency program’s first Black woman resident.
She learned the news on March 17, which is National Match Day, a day when thousands of graduate medical students find out where they will do their residency training for the next several years.
On Friday, the 26-year-old shared the exciting news on Twitter: “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],”
“Everything that I’m doing, everything that I’m learning, everything that I experience is for the betterment of someone else,” Potter told CNN.
According to the latest data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, only about 5.7% of physicians in the United States identify as Black or African American. A 2019 report by the association found there were only 33 Black women in the neurosurgical field in the United States in 2018.
Vanderbilt trained its first neurosurgery resident in 1932, making Potter the first Black woman to join in 91 years, according to Dr. Reid Thompson, a professor, and chair of the university’s Department of Neurological Surgery.
Potter graduated summa cum laude from FAMU with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2018.
She told CNN that being a FAMU alumna proves that it’s possible to go to an HBCU and “attain every single thing that you want to and make your dreams come true.”
“A lot of people feel like when you go to an HBCU, you are sacrificing quality, and that is something that people should not believe,” Potter added.
Before she heads to Vanderbilt, Potter will finish her studies at Case Western Reserve University Medical School.