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Lessons From Mom Combine With Medical School Knowledge 
Black History Month

February 20, 2024

Nahimie Louissaint (DO ’26)“I kind of discovered medicine from my mom,” said Nahimie Louissaint (DO ’26). “I come from a Caribbean background, and she was able to expose me to the beauty and art of healing through herbal medicine.”

“She made me realize there are other ways to heal people. It's through cooking, and through love and alternative medicine outside of just medications. I think this paired with my frequent doctor's visits and seeing how you can care for your patients. I was always intrigued by their knowledge, and wanted to know more.”

Louissaint ultimately chose medicine as her career path.

“I enjoy the hands-on approach of osteopathic medicine mainly because I have been to some doctors where they were quick to prescribe me something because I checked off boxes for the symptoms I had,” Louissaint said. “Whereas we're learning now, it's more than just symptoms. It's the whole mind, body and spirit—how I feel, what else is going on throughout my day, and in my lifestyle that also play a part into the care that I receive.”

She said that she’s able to combine the knowledge from her medical school classes with what she learned from her mom.

Nahimie Louissaint and her family“My mom taught me that it's also important to focus on the lifestyle,” Louissaint said. “I realize this is important because the things we go through on a day-to-day basis influence our health. If we focus on that, I think we could make a bigger change through preventative medicine instead of just hiding the symptoms.”

Louissaint grew up in Georgia, and graduated from North Springs Charter High School in Sandy Springs in 2017. She went on to Georgia State University where she graduated in 2020 with a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience.

Before beginning medical school at PCOM South Georgia, Louissaint spent a year working as a medical assistant at a women’s health clinic that mostly treated women without access to adequate health care. The experience made her interested in pursuing a specialty as an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN).

“Our patients didn't have insurance, and they didn't have the funds or financial help to afford the doctor's visits they needed,” Louissaint said. “They came to us with a lot of issues that needed help. A few of them suffered from endometriosis, so we not only had to educate them on what it was, but how to treat it and find the most affordable way to treat them, which was difficult. That just showed me that we need more women in the field.”

She continued, “A specific part of maternal health that interests me is the mortality rates, because I believe that Black maternal health is very important. As Black women, we have a long history of having to fight the stigma of ‘oh, we're able to handle pain.’ People don't listen to us. If women of color are able to present themselves in this field, we can serve as advocates for these women and potentially decrease the maternal mortality rate.”

Statistics from the March of Dimes reveal the magnitude of the issue.

“Based on research that I've recently looked into, Black women are three times more likely to die from childbirth than any other race,” Louissaint said. “I think it just stems from the fact that we're not heard when it comes to our health or when it comes to any issues we bring to the table. It's something that people believe we should just deal with. I believe that pregnancy should not include suffering. Although our body is going through changes, there are things that we can do. I think that's also where the osteopathic way comes into play because we can do OMT to help with pain and certain symptoms that can be fixed instead of ignored.”

As the daughter of Haitian immigrants, she understands how hesitant immigrants may be to seek medical care and how important it is for a physician to understand a patient’s cultural background.

“In Haitian culture in general, they're not very comfortable with going to the doctor's office,” Louissaint said. “They're not very comfortable with talking about their problems or anything that's going on. They'd rather just deal with it because we were taught to be strong.”

“I think getting the dual perspective just shows me that you really need to form that trusting bond with your patient because they might go to the doctor's office, and it's their very first time. If you don't treat them in a way that makes them feel comfortable or heard, or just makes them trust you, they're not coming back.”

At PCOM South Georgia, Louissaint is very active in student organizations that are involved in the local community. She serves as co-chair of Sisters in Medicine, vice president of the Student National Medical Association, a pathway coordinator for the Student Ambassadors, and treasurer for Nutrition in Medicine.

“I love how there are multiple opportunities for community engagement,” she said. “Being in Moultrie allows us to go right into the community and volunteer. That's been a very big portion of my experience here. It's been very enjoyable going out in my free time and interacting with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club or the woman at Crossroads for Her. Making connections and seeing smiles on other people's faces—that fills my heart and puts a smile on my face as well.”

Louissaint is the daughter of Nadege and Himmler Louissaint of Sandy Springs. Her younger sister, Namiah, is a high school senior.

From February 1 to February 29, PCOM joins others around the country in observing Black History Month. This important celebration honors the histories, cultures and contributions of those who identify as Black or African American. At PCOM, we recognize our faculty, students and staff who identify as such and will highlight their stories throughout the month.

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  • About PCOM South Georgia

    In 2019, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied 125-year history, extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia. An additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia, PCOM South Georgia offers both a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution that trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the region. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 229-668-3110.

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