27 Miracles is very proud of Alecia Blake as she receives her second degree in Medicine as an MD. We are proud of you Alecia.
Enjoy the testimony followed by her pictures:
People often ask me if my experience as a cancer patient influenced my decision to become a physician. The truth is that I have wanted to be a physician since childhood, long before I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease at age 17. My parents noticed my love of science at an early age and wanted to nurture it. They purchased a science kit for me and I spent hours looking at specimens under the microscope. I realized that a career in medicine was the perfect way to combine my love of science and my desire to be of service to humanity.
After college, my dream of becoming a physician took an important step when I was accepted to Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). I was overjoyed to matriculate at MSM because I believed in the school’s mission to serve the poor and underserved. When it finally came time to choose a specialty, I had a hard time choosing one. I had done well on all of my clinical rotations, but I just didn’t feel that I had found the right specialty for me. I remember talking about this with an intern and he suggested that I look into the field of anesthesiology. I took his advice and I found the art of anesthesiology fascinating. Again, my goal was realized when I was accepted to the anesthesia residency program at Duke University Hospital. But, first I had to complete an internship at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.
Half way through my transitional year internship at Hurley, my cancer returned. I underwent chemotherapy and managed to finish the program. I was very excited to get started at Duke. Unfortunately, the stresses of residency so soon after receiving chemotherapy resulted a case of pneumonia that interrupted my residency training. After recovering at home for four months, I accepted a position as Allied Health Director and Medical Assisting Instructor at Miller-Motte Technical College in Raleigh. I then moved on to another teaching opportunity at the Medical Careers Institute at ECPI College of Technology, in Raleigh, were I remained for three years.
Teaching turned out to be an important and rewarding experience, but after having a bone marrow transplant to treat the third recurrence of my cancer in December 2008, I desired to return to residency to complete my medical training. I chose to enter the Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency Program at MSM because it allowed me the opportunity to: 1) serve the underserved, 2) have an impact on healthcare by reducing healthcare disparities, 3) earn my Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Health Promotion/ Health Education, and 4) to focus on cancer prevention and control as the American Cancer Society fellow in the program.
As the end of my residency training draws near, I am making the transition to pursue a career in academic medicine. Specifically, I envision a career in cancer prevention and control in which my time spent primarily developing a program of research that translates what is known about the prevention of various cancer sites to communities disproportionately affected by cancer and its co-morbid conditions. The nexus in the effort to reduce disparities and promote health equity can be found in evidence based approaches central to the effective practice of preventive medicine. I am also interested in training medical and public health students interested in careers in cancer control and prevention. Ultimately I intend to either direct a lab or be part of a lab that is actively engaged in translational research, training and community engagement.