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Dr. Tamiko Jackson-McArthur, her dream may become a reality.
Jackson-McArthur, who’s a pediatrician and owner of New Haven Pediatric and Adolescent Medical Services, serves as a mentor for young people aspiring to become medical doctors.
It’s one of her ways of paying it forward.
“She plays a big role for kids in our community and to see where she is now helps us to think broad; just to know she did it is encouragement for us,” said Briana, 15, a student at James Hillhouse High School.
“Everything is not limited for us and we have the chance and tools we need to get there,” said Briana, who has been a mentee of Jackson-McArthur since March.
“She’s been my doctor since I was a kid, and watching her passion and positive attitude motivates me to take on the challenge,” she said.
Briana said under Jackson-McArthur’s tutelage, she’s learning the importance of patient confidentiality and professional conduct in the workplace.
“She’s teaching me these little skills while I shadow her with patients,” she said.
Jackson-McArthur is a Sacred Heart Academy graduate, who completed her undergraduate studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and went on to Howard University College School of Medicine, earning a medical degree.
“I always knew I wanted to be a doctor, but I didn’t know I wanted to be a pediatrician until I got to medical school,” she said.
“I like the lifestyle and getting to know families and watching children grow from birth to adulthood; that’s what drew me to pediatrics.”
After medical school, Jackson-McArthur did her residency at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey.
She returned to New Haven in 1998 and began working for a local hospital, but realized the hospital climate wasn’t for her.
“I had to open my own practice, because I didn’t feel that my way of practicing medicine would come to fruition working for someone else or in a hospital,” said Jackson-McArthur, who opened her practice in 2006.
“I knew what I wanted to do in pediatric medicine in New Haven was beyond what others could have imagined,” she said. “There are more components to pediatric medicine than working in a hospital setting.”
But owning a practice has had its challenges, according Jackson-McArthur.
“The challenges are all operational. You don’t learn business in medical school; it’s on-the-job training if you don’t have a business background,” she said.
“You don’t open your practice loving the business aspect, you open it loving medicine.”
Jackson-McArthur said part of her success as an owner was surrounding herself with individuals who understood business management.
“There are (testing) and trying moments, but I love being a business women now; it’s extremely rewarding.”
Despite significant financial and social obstacles, African American women-owned businesses continue to grow, according to the Center for American Progress website.
African American-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the women-owned business market and are starting up at a rate six times higher than the national average, the website said.
Jackson-McArthur also owns the Oxford Pediatric Wellness Center in Oxford.
Her New Haven practice recently became a pediatric training site for students of the Quinnipiac University College of Medicine, where she’ll be teaching and training students beginning in the fall.
In addition to practicing medicine, Jackson-McArthur serves as a city health commissioner and is chairwoman of the NAACP Health Committee.
She’s an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., The Girl Friends Inc., The Links Inc, and Jack and Jill of America Inc
Eileen Denny said Jackson-McArthur is a true role model for young people.
She relates to people and makes you feel comfortable while under her care,” said Denny, of Denny Chiropractic and Acupuncture.
“She is active in the community and came back to care for those in the city in which she was raised; that’s a testament of her character and the community she loves,” she said.
Denny’s four children are patients of Jackson-McArthur.
While blacks make up 13 percent of the nation, they account for only 4 percent of the physician workforce, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Jackson-McArthur believes more blacks should pursue primary care specialties.
“A lot of families are looking for professionals that look like them. It gives children the ability to dream,” she said.
“Kids dreams about what they know; it opens the doors of their minds when they see physicians that look like them.”
That’s what happened with Sierra Ransom.
“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse, but my relationship with Dr. Jackson and who she is has pushed me to be like her one day,” said Ransom, 18, a senior at Hillhouse High School who has been a patient of Jackson-McArthur since birth.
“People can relate to her because she’s from New Haven.” she said.
Through the years, Ransom said Jackson-McArthur has treated all of her siblings and watched their growth process.
“She looks at me as one of her own; she’s grown with me,” said Ransom, who has a four-year academic scholarship to Southern Connecticut State University in the fall.
“My mother dedicated my prom picture to Dr. Jackson; that’s the impact she’s had on me and others in my family.”
Ransom’s 2-year-old daughter, Khloe Hill, is also a patient of Jackson-McArthur.
Jackson-McArthur’s advice to young people thinking of entering the field of medicine is to develop the skills of study and learning early.
“Don’t wait until high school or college to become dedicated to your studies. It’s a hard road and you can’t half step.”