Standing on her Shoulders: Celebrating Meta L. Christy, DO, and African American Alumnae Trailblazers
Obstetrician/Gynecologist, UPMC Pinnacle, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
“Twenty years ago, when I started medical school, it was very evident that the numbers of Black women in medicine were not reflective of our U.S. population. But now, we are in a place where I feel proud to say I’m one of those two percent. Now we celebrate one another. … I grew up in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and I expected to go to one of the HBCUs in Virginia. And then I got a letter from Prairie View A&M University, a small school in Texas, addressed to ‘Dear Future Doctor Momon.’ I thought, who the heck sent this letter? The chair of Prairie View’s biology department handpicked his students for a pre-medical program. What sealed the deal for me was seeing pictures of graduating seniors—a whole bunch of people that looked like me—with their letters of acceptance into professional school or graduate schools. … That was four years of being in a kind of utopian society where everybody looks like you. I learned to be comfortable in my own skin. … My PCOM classmates used to say, ‘How are all these people from Prairie View ending up here?’ PCOM was the medical school of choice. I knew somebody from Prairie View in the class before me. When people came to interview, you’d say, ‘Oh, you can stay with me.’ … The minority alumni always made themselves present, made us feel valued and supported. Coming out of my utopian society, without that support, I would have struggled more. … At the end of my third year at PCOM I got my MBA. It was good for me, being a first-generation college student, to understand that there is business in medicine, and that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. If I had not had that experience, I might have thought, ‘I’m going to walk in there, in my starched white coat, and I’m going to heal the world.’ … I’m active on social media, on Instagram; I want to help put out credible information and also be a representation of that two percent and to depict the real life of a physician. … Women often have men making decisions for us, and we have men making decisions for our patients. My patients like to see me on social media. They say, ‘Oh, wow, I’m glad that you talked about that today.’ … I’m currently the chair of the department here in Carlisle, and I hold other administrative positions, but I don’t want to leave my clinical duties. I still love patient care, and I want to do that as long as I can. My motto is, ‘It’s for my patients.’”
as told to Janice Fisher
Read more stories from African American female physicians, leaders and health professionals.
Digest, the magazine for alumni and friends of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, is published by the Office of Marketing and Communications. The magazine reports on osteopathic and other professional trends of interest to alumni of the College’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and graduate programs at PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia.