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Making History, Making A Difference

Embracing Her Own Unique Journey

Dr. Tamia Potter of Nashville comes from a long line of nurses, and in high school, she became a certified nursing student. During college, while working at a nursing home and hospital, she interacted with many neurosurgical patients, and that changed the course of her life. “I realized that I really wanted to take care of that patient population and explore what neurosurgery had to offer,” she says.

Today, she is the first Black female neurosurgery resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

“It's a very surreal experience,” says Dr. Potter. “You never see yourself as someone who makes history. You just see yourself as doing what you love and want to do. It’s been an amazing experience. I've been very welcomed at Vanderbilt, and I’ve been able to inspire so many people who want to go down this path.”

Her advice to others like herself: Be prepared to accept that the journey is going to be different. “It really requires a true understanding of who you are and what's important to you,” she says. “Your lifestyle is going to be different from other people and the way you go about things is going to be different, especially if you're a Black or Brown person. Just embrace who you are and the journey you’re taking.”

Fortunately, the 26-year-old has had a lot of support along the way, not only from her family, but also from high school, college and medical school instructors and deans. “They all tried to challenge me and to make sure I had everything I needed to make it to the next level,” she says. “I didn't get where I am today all by myself, so I thank everyone who helped with my journey.”

Even though the demands of her profession are quite strenuous, Dr. Potter still finds time to enjoy her life outside of work, and her personal style can vary greatly. “I'm a sneaker girl, but at the same time I love a good edgy outfit,” she says. “I love florals, dresses, skirts and shorts, it just depends on the occasion.”

While her schedule also doesn’t give her a lot of time to shop, she stays on top of fashion trends through social media. “A lot of the pages I follow are fashion-related that show what people are wearing, what’s trendy, and new hairstyles,” she says.

She also carves out time to stay in shape. “I'm really big into fitness, and do powerlifting and aerial dancing,” she says.

Dr. Potter is looking forward to the rest of her journey, and Nashville seems fortunate to have her.

“It's a very surreal experience. You never see yourself as someone who makes history. You just see yourself as doing what you love and want to do. It’s been an amazing experience.”

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