Dr. DiAnne Davis is not the average doctor you might envision from binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. Dr. DiAnne Davis always wanted to be a medical doctor- thanks to her physician father. She had a short stint as a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints before she settled into her career as a cosmetic dermatologist.
Dr Davis earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Tuskegee University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Soon after she received her M.D from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences where she received the Walter F. Rosen Award for being an outstanding student in Dermatology.
She specializes in noninvasive facial rejuvenation, hair loss and cosmetic dermatologic surgery. She used her experience in dance and medicine to deliver top notch services to her clients. Dr. Davis shared her career journey with La Femme Exec:
Medicine is a really impactul but challenging career path.How did you know you wanted to pursue a career in medicine? I knew I wanted to go into medicine at an early age because my dad was an anesthesiologist and I wanted to do everything just like him. As I got older I started to deal with adult acne after college and that completely changed my outlook on medicine, because as a patient I started to recognize how not only how frustrating it was to treat my acne but also the emotional aspect of dealing with acne as well. I found myself losing confidence and having low self-esteem because of how I felt about my skin and how I looked to others. I finally started seeing a dermatologist in New Orleans, LA and she completely opened up my eyes to a new field of medicine where I felt like I could join a field where there weren’t many doctors who looked like me and also a field where I felt I could make an impact on others.
What are some of the struggles you faced as a minority in medical school?As a minority in medical school I would say that some of the biggest struggles I face were actually prior to medical school when I was applying and trying to take the MCAT. I took the MCAT five times and applied to medical school on three separate application cycles. It is no secret that African-Americans and Latinos score lower than whites and Asians on standardized exams. The disparities that exist and cultural biases on tests pose challenges to African American students that are finally now being discussed on a larger scale.
Once I started Medical school at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, I dealt with coming into contact with patients who either assumed that I was a nurse or staff in the hospital instead of a student doctor (studying today be a Medical Doctor) and I definitely encountered patients who preferred not to receive treatment from me because of the color of my skin. Its definitely not the norm but sadly it still happens today.
Medical school can be extremely difficult! What are some coping mechanisms you employed during this time of your life? I am classically trained in ballet, and dancing and cheering have always been an outlet for me. During medical school, I was able to form a dancing troop with several of my classmates where we performed dance routines throughout the year. It was very therapeutic and definitely a form of release for all of us from the day-to-day challenges of studying and taking tests.
I also lost my father during my second year of medical school and once I started to realize that it was hard for me to deal with I did seek out therapy which definitely helped me process my grief and emotions which was so beneficial to me continuing to succeed in medical school.
What inspired you to specialize in dermatology ?I always felt like there were not enough black dermatologists to treat people of color and I wanted to join a field where more of the doctors looked like myself. Again, after dealing with adult acne I realized how much of an impact dermatology could have on a patient’s sense of identity, confidence, and self-esteem and I realized it was a good match for the type of medicine that I want to practice. I get to see see patients in an out-patient clinic setting, I get to practice different aspects of dermatology, I see patients of all ages, genders, and sexual orientation and I get to perform outpatient surgical procedures. Dermatology offers a good mix of what I do on a day-to-day basis and it keeps it exciting. Also as a dancer, I am extremely visual and I like treating things that I can see versus things that I might not be able to see – like hypertension or blood pressure.
What advice do you have for aspiring doctors – especially those that want to specialize in dermatology? For those that want to pursue dermatology, I highly recommend seeking out mentorship from a dermatologist in the field who can help guide you during medical school and application process. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for several of my mentors including Dr. Valerie Callender, who took me under her wing whilst I was in medical school. Dermatology is becoming extremely competitive with each application cycle so students will definitely want to focus on their studies during medical school and their boards exams.
A Research project is another aspect that students will need to consider when applying to dermatology. It doesn’t have to necessarily be research in dermatology but it definitely needs to be something that you’re interested in. And finally, never lose sight of the things that make you unique as a student/future physician . If there are hobbies that you love doing, keep doing those during medical school because it will definitely help you cope with the challenges that students face. Also, your unique qualities are what set you apart from each applicant so stay true to yourself and trust the process.