AHEC - North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program
Touched by an AHEC: Stories from 100 Counties
Tamela Wimbush

Tamela Wimbush, health careers student

Durham County | Duke AHEC Program

Tamela Wimbush, health careers student

A junior at Southern High School City of Medicine Academy in Durham, Tamela Wimbush has plans to become a pediatric physician assistant. With help from AHEC Health Careers and Workforce Diversity programming, a mentorship with Jacqueline Smith, MD, resident in psychiatry at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and most importantly, from her mother, Wimbush is making great strides toward her goal.

A member of the Duke AHEC after-school program since 2004, Wimbush attended the 2006 Future Leaders in Healthcare Conference at Fayetteville State University and has been on three college tours to UNC-Pembroke, East Carolina University, and North Carolina A&T University with the Duke AHEC Program. She also participated in the SAT Test Prep Class and several seminars.

Her mother connected Wimbush to AHEC programs and also, through a friend, introduced her to Dr. Smith. “Tamela is so humble, sweet, and eager that you want to do everything you can to help her,” said Smith. “I have provided a couple of resources for her to check out and discussed various careers in health with her. She has actually taken those resources and utilized them.” Smith also has an AHEC connection having done a rotation for the past year with Charlotte AHEC’s mental health center. “I intend to stay in North Carolina and work in community mental health or private practice,” said Smith.

Wimbush says that she always knew that she wanted to work in pediatrics. “However, I didn’t know in what position,” she explained. “The Duke AHEC Program enlightened me to the many health careers available. I had the opportunity to visit a neonatal intensive care unit which was very rewarding, because I was a preemie. I also had the opportunity to hear presentations by physician assistants which helped answer my questions and sparked my interest in physician assistant studies.”