Dr Venita Simpson became the first Black woman in Baylor College of Medicine’s history to finish a neurosurgery residency.

The wildly accomplished Navy Lieutenant Commander has joined the 1% of Black women neurosurgeons in the U.S., according to Because of Them We Can

She’s served in the Navy for 13 years and is slated to return in the near future. She’ll now be working for the Navy in Portsmouth, Virginia.

“When I knew I wanted to go to medical school, my high school guidance counselor told me to be realistic. Even though I had a 4.0 GPA, she recommended another student of privilege for the scholarship I was applying,” she told Because of Them We Can.

“When I originally applied to Neurosurgery I did not match, but I dug my heels in, got back on the grind and matched the second time around. Never let anyone tell you what you can’t do. God is always in control and has a plan far greater than you imagined if you keep faith.” 

Baylor College of Medicine has been around since 1956 and is known for its connections to prestigious cancer hospitals and massive amounts of funding for research.

Before getting to Baylor, Simpson earned a doctorate from Georgetown University. She finds much of her inspiration from Dr. Alexa Canady, the first woman and Black woman neurosurgeon in the U.S.

“I was inspired to go into medicine since I was seven-years-old after I had surgery. I was just amazed at all the gadgets in the hospital. I fell in love with Neurosurgery after witnessing Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease and movement disorders and how life changing a seamless placement of electrodes in the brain could alter and enhance someone’s life,” Simpson told Because of them We Can.

“Dr. Alexa Canady resonated with me more so because not only was she Black, she was a woman. In a field dominated by white men it can be intimidating, but she persevered and I definitely have pulled strength from her.”

Simpson was featured in a fun Washington Post article last fall where she jokedthat she “left a patient open on the table” while trying to vote for the first time in Texas.

Credit: blavity.com 

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