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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

About Dr. Strickland

Dr. Tomekia Lynn Strickland is a twin and the youngest of three siblings. Born and raised in Atlanta, she attended Benjamin E. Mays Academy of Math and Science. It was there that she was introduced to  Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and soon became involved in biomedical research.  This lead to multiple awards at the local, state and national science competitions and ultimately set the pathway to returning to Morehouse School of Medicine to complete her Doctorate of Medicine.

She majored in Biology at Agnes Scott College, a prestigious liberal arts women’s college in metropolitan Atlanta. While at Agnes Scott, she was inducted in the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society and awarded the Mary Angela H. McLennan Medical Fellowship. During this time, a fellow dorm mate and friend-who ultimately became Miss Georgia- convinced Tomekia to compete in the Miss Georgia Teen pageant. Having never participated in such an event before, she competed and placed in the top 4!

She entered medical school under full scholarship as a National Health Service Corps scholar, a scholarship program under the Department of Health and Human Services. During medical school, she received several other top research awards including the Dr. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Disease Fellowship Award by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) based on research completed at the Alaskan Native Hospital in Anchorage.  She also spent time in Johannesburg, South Africa working in a prenatal clinic for HIV positive women. Her journalistic depiction of that experience was published in the Journal of Minority Medical Students.

Dr. Strickland was profiled in the news nearing completion of medical school where her acceptance to MSM OBGYN residency program was televised. She completed her OBGYN training at Grady Memorial Hospital in June 2005. During residency she was featured again in the news with delivery of the first baby of the New Year in Atlanta in 2002! She was also involved in women’s contraceptive and sexual health research which was presented at national conferences including the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology Annual Clinical Meeting and published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  She was awarded the Dr. Nelson McGhee Service and Humanism award and the top laparoscopic surgeon award. 

In 2005 she  was featured in Atlanta’s Jezebel Magazine as one of  the “50 Most Beautiful Atlantans.”  She was photographed amongst the ranks of famous athletes, actors, models and business executives.

After residency, Tomekia continued her relationship with the Department of Health and Human Services and accepted a position as an OBGYN with the Indian Health Service.  She spent just over four years living and working on the Navajo Nation in Chinle, AZ. It is  the largest Native American reservation in the country. This new and exciting life in the Southwest embraced a rare and intimate exposure to rural Navajo culture and the valuable integration of native healing with traditional western medical practice.During her time with the Indian Health Service, she received several hospital service awards as well as developed and was director of the first substance abuse in pregnancy program.

In May of 2008, she was inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology after having fulfilled all of the requirements to become a certified Diplomat of The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

Dr. Strickland recently relocated to Southern Arizona where she now practices Obstetrics for the premiere and largest Maternal Fetal Medicine group serving that region of the state.

She has an evolving and expanding presence within the global women's health community, with collaborative long term goals involving women's health programs in Haiti.  The current humanitarian crisis surrounding the famine in East Africa has reignited a deeper passion for humanitarian service. She recently joined the UNICEF volunteer team as an Advocate for Mothers and Children and actively follows as well as regularly donates to humanitarian, maternal child health and other community organizations. These include: Women For Women International, CARE, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), AmeriCares, Partners in Health, Alicia Key's "Keep a Child Alive", The World Food Program (WFP),  The UN Refugee Blue Key Campaign, Hill Harper's youth empowerment organization "Manifest your Destiny", Christy Turlington's Every Mother Counts and the Liya Kebede Foundation.  She is also attending the 2011 Global Health Conference in Montreal, Canada in November.

Her approach to patient care:  "Speak love. Yield to compassion. Honor courage. Heal with hope."

Her words to live by: " Help. Heal. Love. Inspire"

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Where it came from... (Why I became an Obstetrician)

People often ask me why I chose to deliver babies.  The following is a brief perspective...

My grandmother and great grandmother both brought life into the world...and I don’t just mean their own children, which were many.   They were lay obstetricians and lay midwives. They were “home grown” practitioners of birth.  There were few other folks in those deep dampen rural parts of Southern Georgia  who were committed  to and available for such type work.  “Ushering in the next generation” my grandmother would call it. I remember her firmly counseling me in my most junior state of physician-hood; “Young lady….do you know that you ain’t doing nothin’ new? I was birthin' babies long before you ever got here...”  Those words would embrace my soul forever.  My sense of novel familial professional accomplishment wasn't dismissed, but rather reinforced with a different source of pride as I realized my calling into women’s health was far greater than a self derived pursuit.  The natural affinity to care for women was already in my blood…it was already a part of my lineage. It was a legacy planted deep within me from the pairing of two amazing women who paved the way for my inspiration, motivation, passion and purpose.  For them I am thankful. For them I deliver babies...