ZimExcellence

Dr. Praise Matemavi : Passion & Purpose (1)

September 22, 2021 CULTURELLE Episode 19
ZimExcellence
Dr. Praise Matemavi : Passion & Purpose (1)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Dr. Praise Matemavi is a Zimbabwean born abdominal transplant surgeon and assistant professor of surgery. She is the award-winning author of Passion and Purpose: Black Female Surgeons. She is the 2020 recipient of the Lake Michigan College alumni achievement award as well as the Michigan State University young alumni award. She is a follower of Jesus, a mother and wife, beloved daughter, sister aunt and friend. She is the CEO of The Rose Gift Foundation, a non-profit that serves, empowers and elevates the rural girl child in Zimbabwe and fights to eliminate period poverty in the Delta in Mississippi. She loves life and finds beauty in everything around her as well as looks for the best in everyone that she meets. 

Website: rosegiftfoundation.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therosegiftfoundation

Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drpraisematemavi/
Rose Gift Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rosegiftfoundation/
Podcast Instagram :
https://www.instagram.com/praisematemavipodcast/

Twitter : www.twitter.com/drmatemavi

Resources Mentioned: 

https://www.umc.edu/news/News_Articles/2020/08/POTU-Praise-Matemavi.html

Passion and Purpose: Black Female Surgeons*
Amazon*: https://amzn.to/3MKdvAm

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Intro : Yo! Welcome to the party! Hello! Makadini. Salibonani. My name is Vongai and you’re listening to ZimExcellence, a weekly celebration of Zimbabwe’s changemakers and trailblazers. So here’s the secret y’all Zimbabweans are actually DOPE AF and it’s just time that we recognize it. So grab yourself a plate of sadza, grab that Stoney ginger beer and let the party begin!

Vongai: Welcome to another episode of Zim excellence. Today my guest is a Zimbabwean born abdominal transplant surgeon and an assistant professor of surgery. She is the award winning author of Passion and Purpose: Black Female surgeons. She's also the 2020, recipient of the Lake Michigan College Alumni Achievement Award, as well as the Michigan State University Young Alumni Award. She is a follower of Jesus, a mother and wife, beloved daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She's also the CEO of The Rose Gift Foundation, which is a nonprofit that serves empowers and elevates the rural girl child in Zimbabwe, and fights to eliminate period poverty in the Delta in Mississippi. She loves life and finds beauty in everything around her, as well as looks for the best in everyone that she needs. Please welcome Dr. Praise Matemavi. 

Dr. Praise: Thank you so much. It is such an honor. And I am so humbled that you asked me to be on your podcast. So I am very excited to spend this time and enjoy some time with you. I already enjoyed our pre-recording session listening to Dolly Parton. So

Vongai: YES, it's a party, y'all. This is she she's telling you the truth, it is a party.

Dr. Praise: Let's enjoy this session. It's gonna be awesome. I really appreciate you inviting me to your podcast.

Vongai: I am so honored that you said yes. If the listeners haven't listened to I believe it's Episode Four. Dr. Praise was actually nominated by our previous guest, Yeve Sibanda. So there we go. She's our first referral come to this show. So

Dr. Praise: Yeve is amazing. She is just phenomenal. Phenomenal. 

Vongai: Yeah, she's absolutely amazing. So, Dr. Praise, you have such a remarkable and powerful story. But before we fully dive in, I'd love to start by asking you about your origin story, because you are a zoom excellence superhero. And every superhero has their origin story. So I'd love to know a little bit about like your upbringing in Zimbabwe to, you know, your journey to moving to the United States.

Dr. Praise: So my story starts  in Seke, Zimbabwe, Chitungwiza is where I was born. And I moved a lot as a child, because my dad is a Seventh Day Adventist pastor. So we used to move all over the place. And it was difficult as a child, because whenever I had made friends, it was time to move on. And you know, I would go to a new school. And when you get to a new school, it's like everybody already has their friends and their clique that they started first grade with and you have to integrate, you have to start over just trying to make friends. I realized later on in life, that that really helped me to adapt in whatever situation that I'm thrown in. And it also helped me to not be too attached to two people or an area and be okay with moving. So you know, even though I am definitely full blown Zimbabwean and and I am full blown American, I consider myself a global citizen. 

Vongai: Saaame. I love this, I love this.

Dr. Praise: You can throw me anywhere, you can throw me anywhere and I'll be fine. I will create a community. I may not have blood family in that area, but I will create family and who says that family only has to be your blood relatives, you know, so it's, it's, it's perfect. So I actually like to talk about all the places that I've been because a lot of people who are in Zimbabwe, are able to then identify with me because they're like, Oh, I was in that place. So you know, we lived in Bulawayo for a while because my dad was at Solusi University and then we lived in Old Highfields for a while and those who know Mastones and Machipisa, those were my stomping grounds for a while. I went to Chipembere Primary School for like, half a year and then ended up at Highlands Adventist school and then ended up at Southerton Primary School. And then we moved to Cranborne Park and I went to Queensdale Primary School. And then I then went to boarding school in Gweru at Anderson before we moved to America. When we moved to America. My mom was 39 at the time, my dad was around probably 43. And basically, they had been talking and discussing because I had this obsession of becoming a doctor since I was four years old. And I was becoming more and more obsessed with this thing of becoming a doctor and my dad fed that obsession by finding me all sorts of books on doctors. And one time when I was in fifth grade, he bought me this book called Gifted Hands by Ben Carson. And I read that book in one night. And I was like, wow, this guy who was from a very disadvantaged background in the ghetto, of Detroit, raised by a single mom was able to achieve his dream of becoming a neurosurgeon. So America is where it's at. So I told my parents, I was like, well, we got to go to America. I mean, if we stay here in Zimbabwe, what are the chances that I'll be able to get into the University of Zimbabwe, and because at that time, that was the only medical school and be able to, to actually pursue my dream of becoming a heart surgeon because at that time, I thought I wanted to be a heart surgeon. There was a team from Loma Linda University in California that had come to Zimbabwe to do congenital heart surgeries, I think it was probably 1988/89 around them. And when my dad had told me about that, I was like, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to be fixing little kids and the little people's hearts. That's what I'm going to do with my life. So my whole, you know, growing up, I had that goal. And that's what I was going to do. And I kept basically bugging my parents about it. And they were like, you know what, they are better opportunities in the States. Anyone can be whatever they want to be in the States. So we'll move to the States. So literally, they with like, over a little over $2,000 in their pockets, we moved to the States, the whole family, and it was solely so that I could follow my dreams. And so my sister could have better opportunities. So that's, that's, that's where I started. And that's that's the origin of all this. Vongai: Where did you guys move in the United States when you first moved? 

Dr. Praise: So we moved to Berrien Springs, Michigan. Small town in southwest Michigan.

Vongai: Sounds cold

Dr. Praise: Very cold. We moved. We moved in the dead of winter in December, landed in Chicago. And it was so much snow, so much cold, and I don't do cold. That's why I live in the south now. I did not do cold. 

Vongai:What was the culture shock for you. Like you're 14 you've just arrived, it’s cold there's snow you're like, this is the America? 

Dr. Praise: Yes. I was shocked because my view of America was what I-. I never really watched that much TV growing up because I was a bookworm. So I used to read all the time. So I didn't have a view of America from TV. But I had a view of America from the books that I read. And literally, I guess in my mind, in my young mind, I just thought America was literally a literal place where it was milk and honey. And so.

Vongai: I love it sounds like Jamaica. 

Dr. Praise: So when I arrived to America, and then saw that it was like, really like a regular place. I was so disappointed. And when we moved to Berrien Springs, it's a village. It's not even a city. It's a village. We had like, for the longest time we had like two traffic lights in Berrien Springs. And the hangout spot was either the gas station or McDonald's we didn't even have have a Walmart in Berrien Springs, like you have to drive. Yeah, so it's like you move to this little village. And you know, it was like very, because of Andrews University that’s there it’s a very predominantly Seventh Day Adventist community. So everything shuts down from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. And it was like the biggest culture shock for me was actually going to school. These yellow buses came and picked up all the kids but you didn't wear uniforms.

Vongai: You’re like I'm going to school. Levies. It is like what did we call it? Levies.

Dr. Praise: Like, no, yes. And there's like, no uniform. You can wear flip flops. I was like, What is this? And then in school, like everything else, it was like, Okay, this is my new life. That's fine. But the fact that we had study guides in school, and it was like, all multiple choice, I was like, they give you the answers right there on the – you just have to pick the right answer. Like what is this? So to me, that was the hugest, biggest culture shock. School.

Vongai: Yeah, you and I probably have that thing in common where you're then kind of first generation or the daughter of immigrants. So you have this pressure to do really well because they've sacrificed so much for you to be where you are. But then you're also getting to know this other culture. So you feel like you're in the middle of two worlds. Like this American culture, Zimbabwean culture and then you also defining your own identity.

Dr. Praise: Absolutely. And I feel like that's something that I have struggled with. Because, you know, to the Americans, I'm not American enough, to the Zimbabweans I'm not Zimbabwean enough. That's why I always say, you know what, it's okay because I am a Global Citizen. Because if I can't be 100%, one thing, it's okay. Because it makes it very difficult because you want to so much be Zimbabwean and also be and then you have others who end up just wanting to be so much American because they feel like they're shunned by the Zimbabwean community. And where we moved, we actually had a pretty decent sized Zimbabwean community because it was an international, you know, it was a university setting. So it was very international. And so you get to meet people from all over the world. And it was just great, because then I feel like my identity was formed through my interactions with people from all walks of life and from different countries.

Vongai: I love that so much. I don't know if you know this about man, me because we never had our pre chat because we're both super busy. And you're saving lives. So completely understandable. But so I was born in Zimbabwe, I moved to London when I was a baby, I lived there until I was 8, and then move back to Zimbabwe, then move to when I was 13. We moved to Beijing, China. And I was there all of my teens my dream, I'm still a teenager listeners, and then moved to London for university. I was there for three years and then moved back to Zimbabwe for a couple months, then moved to New York, and I've been there almost 7 years. And I went to international school when I was in Beijing. So I completely get that your identity is being shaped by all these different cultures and people from different walks of life. And then also being a performer. I'm just around so many different expressions of people as well.

Dr. Praise: That's the beauty of it, when you see that truly we are one world, because it doesn't matter where you're from who you are, where you are, what. And I think just understanding that it doesn't we try as a society to put levels on people. And understanding that we are all at the core, the same. It doesn't matter whether you're a millionaire, or whether you work for minimum wage, at the core we are all the same. And if we just treated each others that you can learn so much from people that you may deem as, or they're not at the level that I am, you know? Yeah, so I and that's what I really, truly appreciated about my upbringing, because you know, my dad was actually like, I say that he's a Seventh Day Adventist pastor. And when we were in Zimbabwe, my last few years, he was actually the president of the conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in like the whole of Zimbabwe. So he was very well known in our church, like a lot of people, like knew him and even up to now, like, if I just say my last name, like they're like, Oh, you’re Pastor Matemavi’s daughter, and so 

Vongai: PK, PK. (Pastor’s Kid)

Dr. Praise: And so it's like, when we moved to the States, nobody would have known that he held such a high position, because his first job in America was as a janitor. And he is the most humble person that I know. And it was like, for him, it was okay. He needed to do what he needed to do for his family, and for what needed to be done. You know, it's like you're moving from living in the low-density suburbs, where you have maid and the groundskeeper and the driver to coming to the states where you're living in a two bedroom apartment where, you know, it's like, I walk into the house, and my dad is doing the dishes, and he's mopping our floor. So it's like to him, he's just like, this is this is what it is. And if there’s something that I learned from my dad is humility, and how important humility is. You know? So I think for me, it's like just being shaped by all these different experiences has really shaped the person that I am, even as a physician, the physician that I am.

Vongai: That's amazing. So back to the fact that you wanted to be a doctor, since you were 4. I read this quote from one of the many articles that you're featured in, where you said, ‘That's so cool. I want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. And I'm just thinking, Wait, what? Like, you know, one four year old is probably like, I want to be a fireman. Like, I want to be a pop singer, I want to be like Britney Spears. And you’re like “That's so cool. I want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon.”  Just the specificity in that warms my heart, you represent every African parents dream, like not only are you a doctor, you are a surgeon. So I was actually nervous to get on the call with you. I'm like, oh, my goodness, this is everyone's dream. But what I think is amazing is, in my short lifetime on this earth, although I feel like I've been here for centuries, I have never had a black doctor out of outside of Zimbabwe, on my medical team, like not even a student doctor, which, you know, then says to me, you know, we still need more Black doctors and more Black doctors at like, really good positions, and really good hospitals, and, and so on, you know,

Dr. Praise: Not just in medicine, but everywhere, representation matters. And I feel like it's one of those things, because on my Instagram, or maybe it's Facebook, I have a picture of me with these two little girls that that I met in the hospital before COVID. So it was I had been operating all night doing transplants. I was exhausted that morning and I was walking around seeing seeing our patients, for rounds before I went home. As I was walking these two little girls came up to me. And because I was actually wearing a white coat, so it said my name and my specialty. And one of the girls just say to me, Are you a doctor? And I was like, Yes, I am. And oh my gosh, she got so excited. And she was like. She was like, “Can I take a picture with you?” And you know, they were with their grandma. And I'm like, sure. And she's like, I want to be a doctor when I grow up. And she was like, “I've never seen a woman that looks like me, that's a doctor”. And you know, she was so excited that it just gave me so much life, you know, and I remember the first person that I sent my book was that girl, like I was like she's gonna have this book. So she can look through this book, and she can see 74 Black women who are all surgeons in different disciplines, in different parts of this world. And know that she can do it too. So yeah, representation matters.

Vongai: I love that so much, especially because there's. At least in America, there's historically this mistrust between the Black community and the medical field, just because we've often been, like, ignored or overlooked or our symptoms and conditions have never been taken seriously. Like, even the way certain things were diagnosed. Like let's talk about maybe skin conditions, certain things. Like they always use examples of how things look on white skin, rather than Black skin. The thinking about these old textbooks and the way they were published something like some of them were possibly published with bias in mind. So it wasn't like intentionally racist, but it was just like, I can't remember what it was. But there was like something floating around last year when the protests started up. And we're all talking about social justice. Talking about it was it was like in a medical textbook that was saying something about Black people, but it was saying it as if it was fact, like, Oh, they are this this this because this and you're like, Wait, what? And so it's been just so powerful. Again, to have some one like you representing us in someone who's also a Black woman. This is, so the reason why I get on people's cases when they like to call me an actress rather than an actor is because you say doctor doctor and you say lawyer lawyer. It's I mean, maybe I guess aside from Spanish word be like a doctora. Like there is no like female doctor, male doctor. It's just doctor. Yeah. And I feel like there's this assumption when you say, Doctor, you're thinking of a man. And it's like, no, let's, let's dispel that. So before we dive into the book, I, as someone who's a Black and African doctor, I wanted to know has anyone ever mistaking you for someone other than a surgeon? And how has that made you feel? 

Dr. Praise: All the times. All the time, so for me, because I think I have a very strong sense of identity, that it doesn't matter. That's why I don't insist that people call me doctor. I'm letting you slide. Because usually when I'm like not at work on different platforms, whatever, I'm just Praise because that's my name, and so I don't really insist on people calling me

Vongai: I mean I’m giving you respect. You’re a doctor so I’m giving you the respect.

Dr. Praise: And I hear that also often because people say, Well, you earned it. So I, I feel more respectful by saying, Doctor, you know, and I'm like, that's fine, and I appreciate it. But also, it's not being a doctor is not the whole, the whole sum of me. So even when I walk into a room and people assume that I'm a nurse, I'm fine with it. I know who I am. And I know what I'm there to do. And oftentimes, people are very surprised that I'm the surgeon, you know, and that's the first thing I do. I walk into the room, and I introduce myself, and I say, I'm Dr. Matemavi. And I'm going to be a surgeon today. And it's usually almost, I'd say, 90% of the time that people are just shocked, like, you're my surgeon. And I can tell you, especially now with always having a mask, and most of the time I have a surgical cap on. They always, always ask me how old I am. They want to know. And I tell them, I'm old enough. I never say my age. Do you know how and you know, sometimes, oh, if I have time and we're just joking around, they'll say let me just tell you this. When I started medical school, my daughter was studying first grade. She finished high school before I was done with my training. That's how old I am. And they you know, invariably, everybody always just laughs laughs about it. And they just say, Oh, you look so young. You don't have any wrinkles. And I'm like, yeah, it's Black Don't Crack. What can I say? 

Vongai: But then also if it was like a young white doctor like a McHottie. And I've had many McHotties on my team, which is why I'm like, if you are on my team, I would be like, [gasps] a Black doctor. What? But like, yeah, there are so many McHotties, and you know, beautiful white doctors out there. But they're never asked about their age. And they're probably like, mid 20s, around the same age as me.

Dr. Praise: Yeah. And it's interesting, though, because the patients are always so excited to have me as a doctor, especially the ones that I don't even imagine will be excited to have me as a doctor. Because I've had people that I walk into a room and I'm thinking oh goodness, and that's just bias on my own part, where I'll be thinking, this person is probably going to have a problem with having a young Black woman as their surgeon, because of just their outer acts, you know, exterior, how they look at how rough looking but just how, you know, being in the south. So far, I have never had anybody refuse for me to take care of them and say I need somebody else as my doctor. 

Vongai: Amazing. I know. In one of the articles that I read, you once heard an attending physician say girls do not belong in an operating room. 

Dr. Praise: Yes. And that was. That hurt me That really hurt my feelings because 

Vongai: I was annoyed for you. I was just reading the article. And I'm like, Who is this person? Ama find them. 

Dr. Praise: Because you know, the thing is, I trained in New York. And in my residency program, people always ask me, do you experience a lot of racism in residency, and I was the only Black resident in my residency program the whole time I was there. So yeah, the whole time I was there, I was the only black categorical resident in, in my program. And so people assumed that I really struggled with racism. But I didn't, it wasn't like a racism issue. What I struggled with more than anything was sexism, you know, and I can say that confidently, because the girls were all pretty much treated the same, whether it was an Indian girl or a white girl, or an Asian girl, or a Hispanic, we were all treated pretty much the same. And it was based on gender. And the attending who said that, and, you know, he said it in sort of a joking way, like trying to say, you know, girls, girls, if they're going to be girls don't belong in the operating room, if they're going to be in the operating room, they need to be ob-gyn, or breast surgeons. And I was like, so why do girls belong? And he's like, you know, like, pediatrics, palliative care, things that are more nurturing. And I was just like, I was, I was just like, really, like, in my mind, I was just like, really? This is in 2018. And you are saying that 

Vongai: that was a second ago was. 2018 

Dr. Praise: It wasn’t 2018. 2016. Sorry, 2016. I was like,

Vongai: I mean, that was also a second ago, that was two seconds ago.

Dr. Praise: I was like whaaat? 

Vongai: That is madness. All right, so I want to talk about the book. So here's what I pulled up. So Dr. Praise Matemavi’s Passion and Purpose is dedicated to every child and woman who has a dream beyond what they can see. And you also wrote the book in under four months, and I need you to teach me your ways. [laughter]. Four months? Let's talk about that. 

Dr. Praise: So, it's funny, you say that, because I was just looking at my current project that I'm working on now. But I feel like I have like a million things going on. And I'm like, I just need. I actually told my husband, I was like, the next weekend I have off, I need to just sit down and get this book done. Like, I just need to get it done. And he's like, okay, okay, which weekend is that? Because like the whole of August, every weekend, you have off you’re somewhere else. I'm like, Yeah, but I need to get it done. So I'm the kind of person who can focus. If I need to sit down and sit for eight hours at a time and get it done, I will sit down for eight hours straight and get it done. And 

Vongai: It need that super power.

Dr. Praise: You needed to just tell yourself today, my goal is to get to, let's say it's like 40,000 words, I am getting to 40,000 words. And I'm going to do it. And I think one of the things that helps what I actually did, when I was doing this book, I would -. It helped that it was the beginning of quarantine. Then my schedule was a little bit lighter. But I would actually get up earlier, if I'm let's say I needed to be at the hospital for surgery at 7:30 in the morning. I'd wake up at four and spend an hour writing. And I realized that those morning hours are perfect, because you wake up, you don't check your email, you don't do anything. You don't check, no social media, nothing. You wake up, if you're somebody who does devotion, you wake up, do your devotion, and then start writing. And then you can get back to your doing your exercise and what have you before you go to to work or whatever else you that you're, if you're working from home before you work from home. But that hour in the morning, you will realize just how productive you can be. If you did that five days a week, you will be amazed at the results.

Vongai: That speaks to your like determination and your passion for what you want. Like you said passion and purpose. Like you have this passion for your purpose.

Dr. Praise: But when you're passionate about something, it's like it's not work. It doesn't feel like work. And yes, it can be painful. And it can be hard. But it's it's like a good hard.

Vongai: Yeah, the thing about your story is there are just so many there are multiple stories within the one story. And the one that I want to segue into is about getting into medical school. You did the MCATs and you did this and you did this and then you like I can't remember what it was but then you qualified within a year and someone had told you that's not possible. And you're like, well, I'm gonna do it. I'm like, Wait, what? You are superwoman. What is happening? God made you different. God made you different. [laughter]

Dr. Praise: So I can say for sure that I always say that it's my Zimbabwean upbringing. I am so grateful for my parents and for my Zimbabwe and upbringing. It's me and my sister. So there were no boys in the family. And so my dad never put restrictions on us. For us, it was never I never knew the concept that anything was impossible that I couldn't do anything, that I couldn't achieve anything. You know, it's when I came to America, when I started to realize that there are a lot of biases, there's a lot of there are a lot of roadblocks, a lot of obstacles, especially for females like that there was this gender inequality. It's something honestly growing up that I never even realized that there was gender inequality, because I always. My mom worked outside the home. And I always felt like you can be you can just be. And so I feel like that and my faith in God together just helped me to not take a no for an answer. And not to take somebody else's opinion about my life into consideration because at the end of the day, it's my life. That's why I have not been the kind of person to worry about what people think. I do my own thing, because at the end of the day, they are not the ones that give me the air that I breathe. They are not the ones that put a roof over my head. You know, at the end of the day, I have to look myself in the mirror and say what have I done with this day have I done everything that I possibly could have done in this day. Have I used the time that God has given me wisely? Because life is so short. And I can tell you all about the shortness of life being a transplant surgeon, because I see death more than most people see death. And in unsuspecting people. Looking back and saying, God has given you all these resources, time, money, whatever it is, have you used those resources that you've been given to the best of your ability and to his glory? Can you look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and say, You know what, I did the very best that I could, I am tired, I am going to sleep now. So that's kind of the mantra that I live by. And that's why sometimes it seems like I do a little too much, as my daughter said. But that's just kinda, that's just kind of what it is. And so during that time, what helped me was that I didn't have an advisor, because sometimes advisors look at you, they see a Black person. And they will just be like, “Oh, this African girl, who does she think she is? No, you can't do that. Like nobody has ever done that, you can't do that.” So the fact that I didn't have an advisor, and Google was my advisor and I was just doing whatever I research to figure out what I needed to do, was actually very helpful. Because I saw, I made a plan, I say, this is what I need to do to be able to start medical school this year. And so if I need to, to take 30 credits a semester to get there, I need to do that, like it can be done. And that's what happened. I took 30 credits each semester, and I got done. And I was able to start medical school during that time.

Vongai: Yeah, and before you were a cardiac nurse, the story is just so inspiring. I'm going to link the article in the show notes, because it was just, I have it pulled up right now. Just amazing. It was like for three years, she earned her living as a cardiac nurse in South Bend, Indiana, single mother of two, then you became a citizen of the US you had to do your MCAT or your admissions, but you didn't have a bachelor's degree. So you had to do your 60 credits, and then 31 semester 30 another and just all of this stuff while you were working 3am to 11pm shifts, also spending time with your kids at church on Saturdays, and then doing a double on the weekend. And it's just amazing. It's just absolutely

Dr. Praise: It's, it's that whole concept of all it takes a village, right. Because I couldn't have done any of these things alone, I had a very supportive family. And I had a very supportive community. Because when I decided to do all this working as a nurse, my manager was like, you know, we have a weekend alternative position. So you get paid more money to work every weekend, because nobody wants to work weekends. So you work every weekend, and then one shift every two weeks during the week, and you make more money, and it will give you time during the week to go to school. And so I was able to do that, and still be able to work full time and take care of my kids, and do all that. There are times when my parents would have to go pick up my kids from daycare, or there are times when I would have to drop them off. When my mom was finishing work when she worked out, drop them off with her so that I could get to a class. So it was all everybody coming together to see me achieve my dream, you know, and it's just, it's just so precious to have that and to know that there is room for us all to succeed. And that we just need to be there to support and help each other whichever way we can. Sometimes it could be financial some, a lot of times it's not financial, a lot of times it's just being there to encourage to say hey, you can do it. I know you're struggling right now. But it's a marathon, not a sprint, you can do it. So just being there to help and elevate each other. That's basically what my story is. It's looking at the community and looking at the village and seeing all those people who send text messages and saying, I see you. I’m there cheering for you. I'm in your corner. You can do it even though it seems like the world has turned against you because you became a teenage mom, you know, things like that. Just those simple things make a difference in people's lives. encouragement,

Vongai: I'm getting two things I'm getting that you are the embodiment of going further than your ancestors ever did. Being your ancestors wildest dreams, and that what is for you will never pass you by. Like what is for you is for you.

 Dr. Praise: Absolutely I feel like Oh yes, definitely. I am living proof. And I feel like the problem is that we limit ourselves so much. And for me, because I'm, you know, everything I talk about it goes to my foundation, which is God, because like I said, when I said I have a strong sense of identity it’s because of my identity in who I am in Christ. And so what happens is that we limit God so much, so much, I cannot even begin to tell you, we put so many limits that it basically stunts our growth, we look at things from the viewpoint of, you know, like our sense of community, basically, we look at things from the eye of the community, basically, like for somebody who's never been out of the state that they live in, they are reference their frame of reference for what life is, is what they see in their day to day life in their state. And then

Vongai: Because you don't know what you don't know. 

Dr. Praise: Exactly. And for somebody who has that frame of reference, where it's, you know, the United States, and they've never been outside the United States, they view life from that lens. And so a lot of times in life, from the lens of our upbringing and of our community, that we don't realize that there is so much more, so much more, and it's up to us. But then we also just limit ourselves by not believing in ourselves. And I think that's one of the things that if there's anything that I want a young people, especially to understand is that you have to believe in yourself, and you have to truly believe in the power of your dreams that you can dream anything and you can be.

Dr. Praise's Origin Story
Representation In The Medical Industry
Sexism In The Medical Industry
Passion & Purpose Book
Praise's journey to Med School