Dr. Kevin Thomas: A Black Man in a White Coat

Dr. Kevin Thomas: A Black Man in a White Coat

My name is Kevin Thomas, I am a cardiac
clinic electrophysiologists that delivers care to arrhythmia patients.
[ try to find these areas inside the heart . . .] I’m also an associate professor of medicine at Duke
University Medical Center. I wasn’t the person who always said “You
know what? I want to be a doctor.” I didn’t have that exposure growing up, I didn’t
know anybody who was a doctor. I grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland. My
parents divorce when I was six. I remember times coming home where there wasn’t
much to eat. I remember coming home to eviction notices on our apartment. My mom, she gave everything that she had and could have to my sister and I, to try to give us a chance to have a better
life. When I turned 16 , I began working for my dad during the summers. My dad taught me how to drive dump trucks. He was like “I’m working hard and doing these things
so that you don’t have to do these later.” I think that was my first realization
that my academic success would be a way for me to achieve important things in
life, and to perhaps end up in a better situation. I was at Emory University, I
went there to college. I, began taking early biology courses, and I remember,
I kind of looked around to see what other people were doing that we’re taking the
same kind of classes that I was. And those individuals were largely pre-med.
Then I said “Yeah, that that sounds great. I could be a doctor.” That’s really where it
all started. I then came to University of North
Carolina School of Medicine and ultimately came to Duke to do my residency in internal medicine. When I was a resident here in 2001, I lost my mom
unexpectedly. That was a very difficult time in my life. In a lot of ways that
made me work harder I never forget where I came from and the
struggles that we had. I always reflect upon those, it makes me even more
grateful and thankful of the things I have been able to achieve. [ talks to patient ] I hope I can be an inspiration for
people to say “That guy came from the same humble beginnings that I’m at, or that I can from.” There are huge opportunities for you to be whatever you want to be,
but it’s going to require some hard work. But keep true to your dream in your own
heart, however you define success, and it’s
different for everyone. Bringing in different people who have different life
experiences is really important, and ultimately will make the environment
better. These new ideas will be channeled into new ways to take care of patients.
Three to five percent of cardiologists are black, so when I look around my own
environment there’s not a lot of diversity. Even now, they don’t see Kevin
Thomas cardiologist they see Kevin Thomas the black cardiologist. That’s the
reality of the society that we live in. I know that how I perform and how I
succeed will reflect about who has opportunities coming behind me. My research focuses on health care
disparities and health equity. That everybody has opportunity to receive
really high quality healthcare. That is my single most important goal as a
physician scientist and as a researcher. My mom had a license plate that said
“Doctors Mom.” The first thing my mom would tell
anybody, stranger, friends, my son is a doctor. Every time I won an award or
I’m recognized, or just day-to-day, I think about my mom how proud she would
be. And so, that’s very very special to me. Even though I’m incredibly fulfilled
right now and I love what I do, I want to continue to push myself to get to the
next level. I’m Kevin Thomas and I’m a Black man in
a white coat. yeah yeah yeah yeah

8 Replies to “Dr. Kevin Thomas: A Black Man in a White Coat”

  1. He inspires me to strive further in my journey to becoming a Physician. This video made me want to research Duke University Medical School for when application time comes. He represents all of his respective schools well.

  2. Really, this guy does his undergraduate work at Emory university, one of the most elite expensive private universities of the nation. That pretty much told me everything I needed to know about his "struggle ".

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