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Our #STEMsation Spotlight is on the amazing Tiana Woolridge!

Who is Tiana Woolridge? Dr. Tiana Woolridge is a pediatrician and sports medicine physician at the University of California, Los Angeles. As a graduate student, she worked with an inner city charter school district to design and implement an award-winning school-based mental health program called Embrace the Mind, to provide education about mental health, reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, and equipping students, teachers, and families with tools to build mental wellness. She is a Los Angeles native, former college athlete, and graduate of Princeton University, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the UCSF School of Medicine. She is passionate about community engagement, health education, and addressing health disparities. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and writing children’s books.

Name: Tiana Woolridge

Job Title/Job Duties: Pediatrician & Sports Medicine Physician

Number of Years in the Field: 4

Special Awards:

  • Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation Joy Award for Black Mental Health Professionals (2022) Chosen from over 500 nominations nationally, 10 Black mental health professionals and advocates were awarded for going above and beyond to make a significant impact in the Black community.

  • GME Excellence and Innovation Award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (2021). The UCSF Department of Graduate Medical Education acknowledges one resident physician each year in the category of Excellence and Innovation in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This award was given in recognition of efforts to develop and implement the first annual UCSF Black Healing Day.

  • Krevans Award in Pediatrics at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (2021). The Krevans Awards recognize first-year UCSF residents at ZSFG for excellence in patient care, as exemplified by clinical competence, professional conduct, concern for patients, and interaction with all levels of staff, including peers.

  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (2020). Nominated by UCSF for membership into Alpha Omega Alpha AΩA, the national honor medical society. This invitation is based on exceptional scholarship, outstanding personal characteristics, leadership ability, and service to the school and community at large.

Specialized Training/Education: Bachelor of Arts - Princeton University, Master of Public Health - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Medical Degree - University of California, San Francisco, Pediatric Residency - University of California, San Francisco, Sports Medicine Fellowship - University of California, Los Angeles

How did you choose to pursue this field? Growing up, I loved science and I loved helping people. Medicine was a natural combination of both!

Who was your inspiration or role model that guided you to this field? So many! My own pediatrician, pediatric surgeon Dr. Henri Ford (look him up, he's done amazing work in global surgery!), and of course my mom who has supported me through this entire journey!

Did you always have the desire to work in this field? Yes - when I was a child, I always said I wanted to be a doctor. My mom helped support that passion and that dream by putting me into science camps over the summer and helping me find programs and volunteering opportunities that would expose me to careers in medicine.

What do you love most about your job? I love being able to form deep connections with new people every day! As a doctor, people trust you with their bodies and minds. It is an important responsibility and one that I don't take lightly.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your job or career? Being one of the team doctors for the Lakers - the NBA team that my dad played for 30 years ago!

What things would you change about your job? I would have more time with patients. Most doctor's visits are super short (15-30 minutes) and it can be difficult to address all of someone's pain and fear in that time.

What has been the most difficult or disappointing aspect of your job? Realizing that the medical system sometimes causes harm, especially for people of color.

How have you combated the stigma of being a "woman of color" in STEM? I have sought excellence at every step of the way, and I am not afraid to share my accomplishments & degrees with those whom I come into contact with!

What tips would you offer for anyone thinking about entering into your profession? It is a marathon, not a sprint! The training journey is long but worth it. Pour into yourself and your mental health as much as you pour into your studies to make sure you can make it all the way through. Also - stay centered on your goal to help other people.

What advice would you give your younger self about your career journey as a "woman of color" working in a predominantly white, male-dominated field? Find your network - a group of friends and mentors who can lift you up, be there when you are upset or frustrated, and remind you of your greatness.

Can you provide some words of wisdom to young ladies considering entering a STEM field as a career choice? Believe in yourself, and be your own biggest cheerleader!!

What is your favorite Quote? How do you apply this to your life?

"We need joy as we need air. We need love as we need water. We need each other as we need the earth we share." - Maya Angelou.

Helpful reminder to stay grounded and remember what is truly important in life.

What are your future goals related to your career? More writing & creating content to help people learn more about how to be physically and mentally healthy.

What are some interesting facts about yourself that you would like to share? I have written 2 children's books and created a mental health workbook for athletes; I was a Zumba instructor in college; and My biggest travel goal is to visit every country in the Caribbean.

What are the best ways to reach you if anyone has further questions? Feel free to DM me! @callmedoctor_t

Are you available for speaking engagements? Yes

Links to your website and social media:

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