Radiologist Luther B. Adair II, MD is currently doing his residency at Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital. He’s responsible for interpreting medical images from X-rays, ultrasounds, CAT scans and MRIs. However, while Adair is making moves in the medical field, he’s also a strong advocate for health and mentoring.
Specializing in abdominal radiology, Adair is also a published medical writer, a recipient of several honors and awards, and has participated in several research projects.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Adair grew up in family of doctors. His father is a neuro radiologist, and his sister is also a medical professional. While he credits his father as influencing him to get into the health field, he initially had an interest in technology.
“I was interested in computers and started building computers when I was 15,” he said. “I was told that radiology was influenced by technology. We use it in every aspect of our jobs. I enjoy doing that and impacting patients’ care from the ground up.”
When it came to choosing where to attain his education to meet his goal of becoming a doctor, Adair said he saw no other route than to attend a historically Black college. After getting accepted to Xavier University of New Orleans, Howard University and Tennessee State University, he decided to go the one college that has a history of producing top Black physicians.
During his senior year of high school, Adair attended the Summer Science Institute at the all-male Morehouse College in Atlanta. He said the program sold him on attending the school, which has the claim to fame of placing the highest number of African-American males in medical school.
“I was exposed to people from all over the country who looked like me, but had cultural differences. People came from all walks of life, but had a common goal,” he said.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1999, Adair worked for three years as a sales consultant for the Dell Computer Corporation. During that time, he took prerequisite course to prepare for medical school. He entered the all-Black Meharry Medical College in his hometown and graduated from the school in 2006.
While he has achieved his dream of being a doctor, Adair said that he finds it troublesome that there are not enough Blacks entering the profession.
“One of the reasons why we are not represented is because of test-taking skills on standardized tests,” he said. “It has nothing to do with intellectual capabilities. It starts at an early age and lies in early development. So few Black men are represented in grad school in general.”
Adair began his medical career as an intern as a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School, working at Cambridge Hospital. He is currently in his third year of a four-year residency at Long Island College Hospital. He came to New York after participating in a matching process.
He said, “New York is the place I wanted to be. It’s the height of the social scene. I felt that New York was something I wanted to experience.”
Along with working at Long Island College Hospital, he also teaches at the Long Island College Hospital School of Radiologic Technology. Adair is also active in the Brooklyn community, having volunteered for the Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Health Board.
As a health professional, he’s a strong advocate for HIV testing and treatment in the Black community. He advises that early testing is key to living a full life with the disease. He is also vocal about the use of radiology on uterine fibroids, which affect a number of African-American women.
Keeping with his belief of mentoring, Adair recently started his own mentoring organization where he teaches people how to be mentors and pairs up people. Using his massive database of professionals, the hands-on program aims to help current college students and practicing professionals.
He advocates there are five ingredients in the recipe to be successful in life: spiritual health, mental health, social health, financial health and physical health.
“In the world, you want to leave it a little better than what you found it, and that’s what helps me to do what I do,” he said.