Quantcast

A physician on a mission

Trudy Tomlinson Special to the AmNews | 5/31/2013, 12:03 p.m.
A physician on a mission

A young, highly respected physician, Dr. Aletha Maybank is a person on a mission and wants to improve the quality of health within various communities. Currently a resident of Brooklyn, Maybank grew up in Harrisburg, Pa., and moved to New York City in the summer of 2001. She is board certified in both pediatrics and preventive medicine--public health.

Maybank is the founding board member of the Artemis Medical Society, an international mentoring, networking and advocacy organization of over 2,500 Black female physicians.

"Artemis came out of the Disney cartoon Doc McStuffins, which launched March 2012 of last year," said Maybank. Doc McStuffins is about a young African-American girl who aspires to be a doctor like her mom. "Myiesha Taylor, who is also a doctor--{her] daughter said, 'Oh mommy look, she is Black like me,' referring to the little girl on the show. From that, Myiesha started sending colleagues to Disney-- Black doctors that she knew."

"Myiesha was reaching out across the country and had already sent a couple colleagues to Disney," added Maybank. "She came upon my name and asked if I wanted to be part of engaging African-American doctors in the country. I said sure because I thought it was important. What we found as more of the outreach occurred is that there was this need and desire for our Black female physicians to have support because they felt really isolated and that was brought out across the country."

Maybank added that African-Americans only make up 3 percent of the physician workforce, and females are 1.9 percent of the physician workforce. She added that there is a gap between younger and older doctors.

"We felt that we needed to really do something because there were are no organizations that are specifically geared toward African-American female doctors," said Maybank. "After Disney heard about the gap, we mobilized the Artemis Medical Society really as a support and nurturing organization for African-American female physicians."

Maybank is the co-founder of "We Are Doc McStuffins," a movement inspired by the cartoon "Doc McStuffins." She was also featured on "Doc McStuffins" for Black History Month.

Maybank's weekly column on EBONY magazine's website, "Doctor's Orders," was created so that she could share her health expertise with the African-American community. "I wanted to elevate the conversation about health that is not just your individual behavior, but to show that those behaviors are influenced by where you live, work, play and pray," said Maybank. "I want people to understand the systems that affect our health. That's why I've done articles on our prison system and salt in processed food."

"It is not what we do as an individual, but it's what we do as a community and a society," she added.

With her love for pediatric and preventive medicine and public health, Maybank served on two medical mission trips to Haiti in 2010. She went with a group of 20 people to work in Grace Village, the second largest tank camp in Haiti. "I was mostly involved in pediatric care and seeing patients. Because of my public health background, I was able to give a public health assessment of the camp. There were areas when I first went down in which children were playing right next to the dumps. We thought about ways in which we could reorganize the camp so that wouldn't happen. The second time I went down, they actually implemented a lot of the suggestions I wrote about in my report."