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Memphis dentist helps prepare children interested in medical careers

Dr. Christina Rosenthal is training up the next generation of medical professionals.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One Memphis doctor is training up the next generation of medical professionals through the program Determined to be a Doctor Someday. 

Children from around Memphis gathered at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Tuesday. They all want to pursue a career in medicine, and Dr. Christina Rosenthal is helping them get there. 

"I grew up in North Memphis. There were no doctors on my street,” said Dr. Rosenthal. “It was my own insecurity that led to my becoming a dentist. I was 13 when I saw a dentist for the first time.”

Her first dentist was a Black female. It was enough to shape her career path. “We can’t be what we can’t see or what we don’t know exists. Representation is definitely important not only for the exposure component but also to know that it’s possible for us to despite background,” said Dr. Rosenthal.

It is a gift she passes onto others. Dr. Rosenthal started “Determined to be a Doctor Someday,” a program teaching toddlers and teens about healthcare and its careers. They provide networking opportunities with healthcare professionals and hands-on exercises such as learning how to suture.

“I’ve never actually looked at a pig and actually dug into it and put a needle in it,” said Madison Agomuo, a high school senior.

“It’s just like really mind boggling that I was able to do it so well,” said Faith, a 10th grade student.

It is a feeling of accomplishment that is even greater for the present, influencing the future. 

“They get a renewed sense of determination overall about their next steps in their journeys. It is an amazing, amazing feeling, ” said Dr. Rosenthal.  

“It makes goals seem more obtainable because typically, you don’t see Black females or many females in the medical career,” said Kaydance.

“Seeing that everyone here is a person of color, it really helped me be aligned with that. I can do it too because there’s other people doing it too,” said Faith.

In the end, it confirms Dr. Rosenthal’s purpose. “It was worth it even if it was just one student. It was worth it,” said Dr. Rosenthal.

Her students from “Determined to be a Doctor” and program graduates who are now doctors were featured on Good Morning America earlier this year.

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