Personal Stories

Dr. Lattisha Shares Her Journey To Becoming An Orthopedic Hand And Upper Extremity Surgeon After Many People Told Her NO



No journey to achieving one’s dream is easy and so is the journey of Dr. Lattisha L. Bilbrew, an Orthopedic Hand, and Upper Extremity Surgeon.

Despite the many “Nos,” she heard on her way to becoming a surgeon, Lattisha, after 14 years of training and post-high school education, finally made it.

According to her Facebook post, even the woman she looked up to as a mentor told her she couldn’t achieve her dreams but she wasn’t deterred.

Today, she stands tall, advising other black women never to give up.

She wrote,

“My First ‘No’

I’ve been waiting 14 years to share this story. Please take the time to read

At 31 years of age, today marks the completion of:
1. Four years of a medical magnet school
2. Four years as a Neuroscience Major (B.S.)
3. Four years of Medical School (M.D.)
4. Five years of Orthopedic Surgery Residency
5. One year of Fellowship in Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery

That is 18 years of training, 14 years post high school. The closer you get to accomplish your dreams, the easier it is for people to discourage you and marginalize your goals.

SEE ALSO: Ogadinma Mgbajah Is The First Female Cardiothoracic Surgeon In West Africa

Along with this path I entered college at the University of Miami, the best school in Florida. I was accepted to the Neuroscience program. The real journey was about to begin. Like I said earlier, as a little Black child it’s only perceived as a dream, not as a journey that will actually manifest.

My first ‘No’ came my freshman year of college. I completed my first semester and had to meet with my freshman advisor. I met with Dr. Victoria Noriega, a beautiful intelligent woman that I looked up to. I reviewed my grades with her. I had a B in biology, the rest were A’s. I’ll never forget when she told me I would not get into medical school. My grades were not high enough. She then proceeded to say, minorities do better in health related psychology fields. She was the first person to tell me, I couldn’t make it to M.D., but she wouldn’t be the last.

I’ve heard many No’s. I would not get into medical school. I was told, ‘I fit better as a Family Practice physician’ because I don’t have the demeanor of a physician. I was told, during the time I was applying to residency that ‘I would never get into an orthopedic residency…

You see, there are many No’s along with my journey. I can honestly say not once did any “No” deter me. It literally went in one ear, out the other and in the garbage can.

It never stopped my grind and that is why 14 years after that incident I’m graduating.

Today I have at least a dozen minorities I am mentoring to also become an orthopedic surgeon. How sad would it be if I heeded that first No? Imagine if instead of no, I heard ‘how can I help you get there?’

Keep Striving
Dr. Lattisha L. Bilbrew
Orthopedic Hand and Upper Extremity Surgeon

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