BOLTON — Latoya Nicole Beatty of Bolton graduated with her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine on May 12 in Washington, D.C.
Latoya , who is the daughter of Nathan Beatty and Beverly McDowell, attended East Columbus High School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (bachelor of arts.), Mercer University (masters in public health), and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (one-year premedical post-baccalaureate program).
“My path to medicine is quite unique,” Beatty said. “t’s long and very non-traditional (laughs). I always wanted to be a doctor since I was 3 years old. I was born with clubfoot so I was exposed to doctors quite often. Through the years with obstacles faced along the way, my decision sometimes changed.
“I worked in public health for about two years as a health educator at Bladen County Health Department in a program called Young Moms Connect,” she added. “But I knew I always wanted to do something in the medical field related to children. I just kept pushing and didn’t give up.”
Beatty was a Gates Millennium Scholar which covered her undergraduate and master’s degrees in full. In medical school, she was a National Health Service Corps Scholar which paid for two years of medical school in full. It involves a service commitment of working at least two years in a health professional shortage area or community health center after residency. Scholars can choose the location of the site.
“If I stay beyond the two-year commitment, then they will pay the rest of my loans so that is definitely the goal,” Beatty said.
In medical school, she was active with the free student-run clinic and two organizations. She received an Outstanding Community Service Award during her second year and completed a brief internship during her first year at the National Association of Community Health Centers in D.C. where she researched methods on recruiting and retaining physicians at community health centers. During her senior year, she was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society which recognizes students who are exemplars of compassionate patient care and who serve as role models, mentors and leaders in medicine. GHHS members are peer nominated and are the ones that others say they want taking care of their own family.
Beatty said her ultimate goal is to become a pediatrician who is highly active in the community.
“At the health department, I enjoyed my experience working with young moms and their children,” she said. “I see myself bridging the gap between public health and medicine. There is a reason for each step in my life and eventually it will all come together.”
Beatty will begin a Pediatric Research and Policy Fellowship at N.C. Child in Raleigh from July 2017 though June 2018.
“I decided early on in my senior year that I needed a mental break and to apply to pediatric residency programs for the following year,” she said. “Physician and medical student burn out is a serious issue in the nation. I wanted to do a year of medical research and learn about child advocacy while having some time to regroup.”
Beatty will also work part-time at Wake Med Hospital in Raleigh.
At the completion of the one-year Fellowship, Beatty plans on entering a three-year Pediatric Residency Program.
She has a twin-sister, Latonya Beatty, who is a rising second-year family medicine resident at New Hanover Medical Center in Wilmington. The sisters plan on collaborating in the future and establishing scholarships at their former high school.