North Carolina AHEC Program
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Former AHEC Health Careers Student Begins Internal Medicine Residency
In May 2011, Lakeshia Entzminger (photo right) graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. As students in the Greensboro AHEC Health Careers pipeline, Entzminger and her identical twin sister, Laketa, were profiled in the winter 2006 issue of the AHEC Review (link to article). Alumni of the Greensboro AHEC Summer Enrichment in Mathematics and Science (SEMS) program and the NC Health Careers Access Program (NC-HCAP) Science Enrichment Program (SEP), the twins graduated from Greensboro’s Dudley High School in 2003 and Xavier University of Louisiana in 2007.
Taking a moment from her busy schedule as a new internal medicine resident at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Lakeshia Entzminger gave an update about her exciting career path:
What were the effects of the AHEC SEMS program and the NC-HCAP SEP on your education and career path?
SEMS and SEP gave me that extra exposure to math and science as well as various health care fields through several classes, site visits, speakers and workshops. To this day, I still remember my experiences and the people I met through participating in these programs. It was a confidence booster and motivator to be surrounded by other minorities who had the same interests. It was also encouraging to know that there was a support system in place that nurtured my desire to become a physician and assisted with my professional growth.
Specifically, through the AHEC SEMS program, I learned how to write a research paper and give a formal presentation. I remember presenting about heart disease in African American women and feeling a sense of accomplishment (and relief) afterwards, especially after I worked so hard.
Through SEP, I took challenging math and science courses that prepared me for my future undergraduate coursework. In addition to learning even more about the health care field, I also learned how to become a competitive applicant for medical school.
What else made you decide on your career path?
The desire to learn and explore helped me decide on my career path. I knew I needed to gain as much exposure to the field of medicine and public health as possible to make a well-informed decision. I researched summer programs to do EVERY summer during high school and college.
Why have you chosen to be a physician?
I chose to become a physician because I wanted to help others, particularly with their health and wellbeing. I also had the personal experience of taking care of my brother when he was younger. At five months, he had a tracheostomy due to the collapse of his trachea. Although I enjoyed the nursing aspects of his care, what was most impressionable to me was his physician. Don’t get me wrong - his nurses were wonderful (nurses are my friends ☺) and played a major part in providing care, but his physician had the last say so in managing his care. As a physician, I felt it would be rewarding to be able to help with that aspect of someone’s life. This career is such a privilege because you are entrusted to care for people at their most vulnerable state.
After residency, I am interested in completing an adolescent medicine fellowship and a master’s in public health with an interest in community-based research in addition to practicing as a general internist.
What advice would you give to students considering a health career?
Develop a plan. Write down what you want to accomplish and how you plan to do it.
Be persistent. There will be obstacles, but what matters most is how you handle them. Use them as a learning tool and motivation to press forward.
Be proactive. Seek out programs that expose you to the world, volunteer, and do not be afraid to ask professionals for advice or mentorship.
Believe in yourself. Do not allow others to define your dreams or your success.
Lastly, take care of yourself. Your whole health and wellbeing matters and is vital to your success. Eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, do things you enjoy and spend time with friends and family.
Editor's Note: Laketa Entzminger is a third-year medical student at St. Louis University School of Medicine. Before starting medical school, she spent eight months in Argentina as a Fulbright Scholar researching the time women spend for prenatal care in the public hospital system and raising funds for a play center. She is interested in primary care and international health and eventually would like to work for a US Embassy.