Linda Ataifo, M.D.
Family Medicine, PGY-3
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
Steering Committee Resident co-Chair
As a child of Nigerian immigrants I saw firsthand how racial and social inequity can have an impact on an individual’s health. My parents emigrated from Delta State, Nigeria in the early 80s and were faced with a number of health challenges. I find that my desire to enter medicine and become a physician was sparked at a young age after losing my mother to a chronic but preventable health condition. Growing up in a single parent household in Houston, Texas (born and raised) my father was not only our parent, he was our teacher, our inspiration and our motivation. He instilled in my two siblings and I that our value did not come from how the world perceived us but how we perceived ourselves. He would inspire us with these and other words until he lost his battle to cancer 17 years later when I was 20 years old.
In the years leading to his death however, he never stopped inspiring me with his resilience in the face of adversity, his steadfastness in the face of his own mortality and his desire to challenge the belief that greatness cannot spring forth from poverty. Two years almost to the date of his passing, I graduated from Harvard College in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in History of Science with a focus on the medical experiences of patients and providers from the African Diaspora from the 1800s- 1950s and a minor in Global Health. I then transitioned to Baltimore, Maryland for my master’s at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, focusing my research on breast cancer health disparities and environmental harms. I graduated from George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 2018 and was fortunate to have amazing mentors who challenged me to address the social determinants of health head-on in the field of Family Medicine.
I am excited and honored to be given the privilege to serve in the Racial Justice Working Group. I look forward to seeing how as health professionals we can work together to address one of the greatest public health crises of our generation, institutionalized racism and its impact on health and well-being.