KK: That is way cool.
MT: The reason why she did this was because I said to her, “When you’re a doctor, you are just doing your job, and you don’t really feel like it’s that big of a deal. Nobody really knows what you’re doing because unless you’re in public health or you’re elected, you’re just going into patients’ rooms one by one and you leave. You may or may not remember, and they may not remember you. You just go on about your day.”
When this happened, I told her, “Wow, this is a great honor.” She said, “Myiesha, until I met you, I just wrote children’s cartoons, and that’s not really that significant. You helped put into perspective exactly what I was trying to do, working with me, showing me that the work that I do does change minds. It does set up a society to do better, starting with the children.” She said, “That was the hat tip. That’s why I named her after you.”
KK: What’s the Artemis Medical Society?
MT: Some people I knew from medical school or residency and a few that I had met along the way when I was doing the collages recruited me, and we formed this nonprofit organization. We got it all organized, added members, and came up with bylaws. This was a big deal because we’re doctors. We don’t know anything about nonprofits: how to run them, how to deal with the taxes, what we needed, etc. It seemed like overnight we had 5,000 people in this Facebook group.
KK: What is the mission of the Artemis Medical Society?
MT: What we aim to do is nurture and support a global community of women of color, wherever they are. It’s not really “sciency;” it’s more touchy-feely. We had a conference where we brought in people to talk about work-life balance and about not feeling alone.
In my group, I’m always the only black person. I might be one of two women, and then everybody else is a white guy. Maybe there are some Asian men, but there are not many women. There are not any black people. In our professional life, you are typically the only one, and when you’re the only one, you’re very isolated.
I’m big on education now because I homeschool my kids. You want them to be able to dream. With Artemis, we have a pilot program in the Fort Worth unified schools in the gifted and talented pullout where we have our women go and talk about what it’s like to be a doctor. The image of seeing somebody that looks like you or somebody that doesn’t look like you in the role changes perceptions. The work we are doing is great. Other schools around the country have been contacting us, but this is still a pilot program.