When true inspiration hits you, it can take you further than you could have ever imagined. And that is what happened to a former security guard who chose to become a doctor. Dr, Russell Ledet is a Black doctor who worked as a security guard in a hospital started his medical studies at the same place later.
Ledet was a guard at the Baton Rouge General Medical Center for 5 years. His interest to study medicine was evident from quite early on. While at his former job, he studied from note cards and requested the doctors passing by if he could shadow them.
While most doctors denied him, Dr. Patrick Greiffenstein, the chief surgery resident, allowed this security guard to shadow him.
Ledet is a US Navy veteran and has earned his Ph.D. from NYU in molecular oncology. He is currently enrolled at Tulane for both MD and MBA. He has been actively offering his services too amid this pandemic and seems to be making great strides for Black doctors everywhere.
Humble Beginnings of this Former Security Guard
Ledet carries his humble beginnings in his heart. His first shot to online fame was in December 2019. He and some other Black medical students from Tulane had gathered outside a former plantation. This plantation was one where Black slaves used to work and his photo tried to showcase their “ancestral resiliency.”
Image Credit: The 15 White Coats
Back then, this security guard turned doctor had told PEOPLE how it was a visceral reaction to how far he and his culture have come. From being slaved to forming a group of Black doctors, the perseverance in the middle of all odds is truly commendable.
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“The hope of the image is that people understand we’re trying. No matter what the system was initially set up for, we’re trying to go against that grain,” he added. “There are still systemic issues that prevent [the] full flourishing of all people in America.”
Ledet is one of the founders of “The 15 White Coats”. Its aim is to influence cultural visibility in K-12 classrooms in the USA. The White Coats will also help people of color when they apply for medical schools. Ledet and his team want to create content that is culturally adept for the future.
The Struggle Continues
In a recent interview with GMA, Ledet expressed how alarmed he and his family have at the recent incidents of racism across the country. Ledet also told the outlet how his wife is scared for his life and told him to always carry his white coat. She fears he might be attacked just for his skin color. He expressed his deep remorse to see how men just like him are murdered in broad daylight and all of it seems legal. He sadly expressed to GMA, “These kinds of things are happening and no matter how much education I have, society doesn’t see me as a human.”
This security guard turned doctor once believed he could not attend college. The reason? No one he knew had ever been to one! But he vowed to go against the stream and worked as hard as he could to secure his place. Ledet mentions how he is from Louisiana and he felt the need to address the health disparities prevalent there. He wanted to do something for the common people and that inspired this former security guard to become a doctor with an MBA degree!
Image Credit: Dr. Russell Ledet