Black History Month: Twin doctors pave the way by mentoring students

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Fewer than 6 percent of doctors in the US are African American, and those who have gone that route say there are many barriers.

Two local doctors, who happen to be twins, want to help medical students of color achieve their goals.

Dr. Brandi Jackson is psychiatrist and chief resident at UIC. Her twin sister Dr. Brittani Jackson-James was also a Chief Resident UIC and now specializes in family medicine at Aunt Martha's Health and Wellness.

They want to help others become doctors, especially students of color.

"We struggled so much as first generation doctors," said Dr. Brandi Jackson. "We didn't have anyone to turn to to say how do we do this. It's intimidating even if you have the support of your family."

The twin doctors created a website to answer questions and offer support.

It's called Med Like Me

"What is presentation of a doctor, how does it go? What do you wear on the floor if you have natural hair... Things like that, questions you wouldn't even know who to ask. These are things we slowly discovered along the way," said Dr. Brittani Jackson-James. "It was us trying to create this resource which we thought we had."

"You are very isolated... Your professors don't look like you. No one in the hospital really looks like you. We have to keep pushing for the people on the other end we have to make it... We have to do it so our perspectives can make it to the patients," said Dr. Brandi Jackson.

The doctors welcome questions from medical students and prospective medical students so ultimately the patients can see more diversity in their healthcare providers.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.