AAEM/RSA FIX Scholarship Winners – Women in EM: Essay Two

Kimberly M. Brown, MD

Author: Kimberly M. Brown, MD
University of Tennessee Health Science Center (Memphis)

RSA is proud to share the following essay from one of the 2017 FemInEM Idea Exchange (FIX) Scholarship winners, Kimberly Brown, MD. Congratulations, Dr. Brown! 

Author Bio: Kimberly M. Brown, MD is a senior emergency medicine resident at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN. She was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, then left the Midwest to complete her BA in Biology from Fisk University in Nashville, TN. Loving the warm weather, she moved to Gainesville, FL and completed a Master in Public Health from the University of Florida. She completed her medical education at Ross University School of Medicine. After completing residency, she will start a fellowship in neurocritical care at the University of Tennessee.

“YOU’RE Doctor Brown?” my elderly patient incredulously asks. I turn my badge around to squint at it and then look at my embroidered scrubs to double check. “That’s what it says on here!” My patient and her family members laugh. My patient touches my hand and tells me, “I am so proud of you.” Being black and female, I’m no stranger to a surprised reaction to my initial introduction. However, this time was different.

My patient came to the emergency department to figure out why she was short of breath, but she ended up curing me of my imposter syndrome. During my first year of residency, I never really felt like I was this “Doctor Brown” that I constantly introduced myself as. It was hard to process my emotions of not feeling like a “real” doctor, when others at work called me girl, baby girl, sweetheart, honey, dear or anything other than my professional title. My internal dialogue halted when my patient expressed her pride in being able to call me doctor.

As I looked at her, I felt like I was seeing myself in the future, her brown skin worn with time and her gray hair reminding me of my mother’s. I remembered that so many before me were refused the opportunity to pursue their dreams of medicine because of their race or gender. To my patient, I was a dream realized. From this moment, I learned to embrace myself as a physician. Yes, I am DOCTOR Brown.