Through decades and decades of embracing hope, putting in work, and continually fighting for glory, our ancestors paved the path and now, we now proudly walk on those roots, changing the narrative and living their wildest dream! With Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, powering the black community, we can now look towards a more empowered, prosperous world.
Dr. Ashley Roxanne Peterson, makes history as the youngest Black female to graduate as an osteopathic physician in America.
Inspired by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, American School of Osteopathy founder as well as knowledge about her family history, Peterson began studying at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine at the age of 19.
In 2019 she commenced her family medicine residency at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA.
“One If the biggest things you can do for your health is to take accountability, by doing some preventative things, such as exercise, lowering your stress levels, taking your medication, vaccines and having screenings like colonoscopies,” Peterson said.
During her studies, Peterson discovered that her “ancestors had been unwilling participants in the infamous Tuskegee Study.” The 40-year study conducted in 1932 by the United States Public Health Service and Tuskegee University in Alabama involved knowingly infecting 600 Black men with syphilis without their consent to observe the natural history of the disease, BOTWC reports.
“I always want to make sure people know that my history and legacy is rooted in the poor and oftentimes hurtful history of American slaves. Sometimes, people are ashamed to say their ancestors were slaves. Quite frankly, I’m not ashamed. My ancestors worked so I can have this dream, and I am their wildest dream,” Peterson said.
Powered by passion and a desire for change, Peterson graduated at age 26, making history as the youngest Black female osteopathic physician in the nation. Only 5% of practicing physicians in the U.S. identify as Black or African American. Peterson hopes that she can inspire more Black students and young girls to follow in her footsteps.
“I’ve had so many people reach out to me, especially young Black women. There was actually a little girl who, this year, was me for Black History Month. That just made me cry because I guess my story is really inspirational to people. I want to see someone else be the youngest Black osteopathic doctor in the country when they graduate. I want to see someone else break records, be they a young black woman or man or whichever race,” said Peterson.