Black Excellence: Meet Melanin Medical Mentor, Brittney Anderson
Black Excellence is Brittney Anderson, M.D., FAAFP
Dr. Brittney Anderson is a native Alabamian. She grew up on a small family farm in Autauga County, Alabama. She believes that everyone should have access to quality, affordable healthcare, regardless of where they live, how much money they have, or the color of their skin.
Her passion for rural and underserved populations is what drives her. Currently, she practices family medicine in Demopolis, Alabama. In addition, she is an assistant professor in the Department of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine at The College of Community Health Sciences in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where she teaches and trains medical students and family medicine residents. Her career interests include minority health disparities, particularly in Alabama’s Black Belt.
She attended Duke University for her undergraduate studies, majoring in Psychology, pre-med. Upon completion of college, Dr. Anderson obtained a Master’s Degree in Rural and Community Health from The University of Alabama. In 2014, she received a medical degree from UAB School of Medicine in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. Anderson then completed her family medicine training at The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency Program. She is currently a fellow in the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Health Equity Fellowship.
Anderson feels that the most important part of her commitment to health is providing excellent care for patients, many of whom look like her. She states, “Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a doctor even though I’d never seen one who looked like me. There is a lot to be said about the comfort and trust patients have with physicians they feel like they share something with. As a Black physician, I have a strong relationship with my patients because we have so many shared experiences. My heart is so full when I see patients who are amazed that I’m the doctor and I look like them! They hug me and pray with me and they encourage me, which means a lot. Them having that trust in me also helps when it comes to talking about their health and screening tests and changes that need to be made.”
In addition, Anderson is dedicated to increasing recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in medicine and reducing the shortage of Black physicians practicing in the U.S. One of her tactics is through Melanin Mentor, MD, a website and blog. It is designed to encourage and support Black pre-med college students on their path to medical school admission. She believes mentorship is key because students need a personal connection with someone who is where they want to be. Also, who can encourage them and give them insight along the way. She keeps in mind always the words of the Marian Wright Edelman quote, “It’s hard to be what you can’t see.” For this reason, she has dedicated herself to exposing Black students to Black providers in the healthcare field to show them various careers within medicine that are available to them.
Helping expose the youth to the medical field is another passion of Anderson’s. She and other healthcare professionals who are members of Elizabeth Baptist Church, located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, started the Bright Futures Health Interest Group in 2019.
Dr. Anderson is very active in various community groups such as the President of the West Alabama Medical Association, a collaborative group of African-American healthcare providers from the West Alabama area. Anderson is also a proud and active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In 2020, she was presented with the University of Alabama School of Medicine Distinguished Young Alumni Award.
The advice that Dr. Anderson gives to African Americans entering the medical and healthcare fields is that “If a career in healthcare is what you desire, there is room for you! Your future patients need you, and those of us who work in healthcare welcome you. Study hard, seek out a mentor for questions and advice, and most important--believe in yourself! You can do any be anything you can dream of!”
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