By: Amber Robins, MD, MBA (Health and Media Fellow)
Driving towards the building that I frequented so long ago brought me back to a time that being a doctor was only a dream. Flashbacks of wearing a blue color blazer with a white button down shirt and a khaki skirt as my uniform came to the forefront of my mind. Those were the days when I was a member of the Louisiana Leadership Institute, a non-profit organization for young minorities. Once I got out the car and walked towards the Louisiana Leadership Institute building, I felt excitement to speak to young people who looked just like me. When I joined the Louisiana Leadership Institute over 10 years ago, I knew very little about what it entailed. Headed by former Senator Cleo Fields, the focus of the institute continues to be to “build leadership, improve academic skills, and increase self-esteem and motivation in the Greater Baton Rouge Metro area students.” During my time within the program, I was gifted with exposure to some of the highest officials in the state of Louisiana while being taught leadership skills during my most integral years of middle and high school.
On Saturday, September 2, 2017, I was invited to speak to the current members of this prestigious organization, now, as a leader in my field in my own right: an MD, an MBA. In my speech, I discussed my memories of being one of the select few invited through the Louisiana Leadership Institute to the Rainbow Push Coalition Conference in Chicago, IL, where I had the chance of meeting Rev. Jessie Jackson, former President Bill Clinton, Cornell West, and Judge Mathis. It was an exhilarating time that brought me up close and personal to figures that I only had the chance to read about in books or see on television. As I got older and more engrossed in the institute, I continued on in the Louisiana Leadership Gospel Choir and toured around the state of Louisiana. All my experiences within this non-profit organization, helped me understand that my dream of becoming a doctor could be attained. When talking to the students on Saturday as an alumna, I wanted them to understand that being in such an organization is a gift that will continue to pay dividends throughout their lifetime and would even spread to our community of Louisiana. Hearing the aspirations of the current members to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, speech writers, poets, and political scientists, gave me excitement and hope in the future of Louisiana and our country.
Once my presentation was completed, I answered questions about life as family medicine doctor, on-air medical expert, and book author. With much gratitude, I was humbled to accept the title of Ambassador of Louisiana Leadership Institute. It was a pleasure to give the attendees autograph copies of my book published in 2016 called “The Write Prescription: Finding the “Right” Spiritual Dosage to Overcome Any Obstacle” where I discuss my challenges and triumphs of being a minority in medicine. In each book I urged the reader to dream big and achieve their dreams. It was a wonderful time to return home to Baton Rouge, LA, but even more special to spend time with the future leaders of tomorrow.
For More Information About the Louisiana Leadership Institute: www.louisianaleadershipinstitute.org
Amber Robins, MD, MBA is the Health and Media fellow at Georgetown University in the Department of Family Medicine.