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Dr. Tamika Blackburn Infuses Fresh Perspective, Inclusivity, and Mission-Oriented Work into HMS

Dr. Tamika Blackburn, MD, is not your average attending physician. She's a force to be reckoned with, a trailblazer in her field, and a champion for change. With an impressive resume that includes being a highly accomplished physician at the UConn Student Health and Wellness Center and an esteemed member of the Institutional Review Board, Dr. Blackburn brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. 


But it's not just her professional accomplishments that make her stand out. Dr. Blackburn has a passion for teaching and inspiring others that is truly contagious. Whether she's mentoring high school students, medical students, or residents, she leaves a lasting impact on those she encounters. In fact, she even had the honor of delivering a captivating TedxUconn talk titled "Leaping over Roadblocks on the Road to Resilience in Medicine." 


So, what led Dr. Blackburn to the Hartford Medical Society (HMS)? It was her desire to find a community that shares her vision—an inclusive, forward-thinking, and committed organization dedicated to making a genuine difference in Connecticut. And that's exactly what she saw in HMS. 

As a vibrant and dynamic community that fosters camaraderie and challenges the mindsets of its members through educational webinars and thought-provoking events, HMS has expanded Dr. Blackburn's understanding of the medical field and pushed her to think outside the box of her specialty.  

Initially, Dr. Blackburn joined HMS to broaden her professional network. Little did she know she would find a community whose ambitions aligned perfectly with hers. HMS's unwavering dedication to the future of healthcare in Connecticut resonated deeply with her aspirations. Here, professionals don't just gather—they actively shape tomorrow's healthcare landscape throughout the Greater Hartford region. 

 Dr. Tamika Blackburn is a testament to the power of passion and dedication. Her journey, from her remarkable career to her involvement with the Hartford Medical Society, showcases the indelible impact one can have when finding a community that supports and inspires them. And with Dr. Blackburn leading the way, the future of healthcare in Connecticut looks brighter than ever. 

 (HMS): Tell me about yourself and why you were initially interested in getting involved with HMS. 

 (TB): Hartford Hospital had an incentive for medical staff to join HMS and attend the first lecture last year, which was Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel's presentation regarding physician burnout, so a lot of my colleagues went, and at the time, I was three months postpartum, so this was my first opportunity to get out of the house. I didn't know anything about HMS then, so this became my first experience with the community. I had a patient who was also a colleague who insisted that I join a different society he was a member of. Around the time that my colleague had suggested this to me, I had attended Dr. Emanuel's lecture. It became clear that HMS was more applicable to what I was looking for, and it made me think, "Hey, let me find out about a new society and figure out how I fit in there." 


How do you envision HMS impacting the Greater Hartford medical community in the next five years? 

One thing that attracted me to HMS was that it is an all-inclusive society. I'm part of a few national societies related to a particular specialty or topic. I was looking for something a little bit different. I noticed a certain dynamic with each organization, and my impression of HMS was that it included physicians and healthcare professionals of all ages, specialties, and interests. I liked the idea of having individuals who have different specialties who could run things past each other and receive a different perspective because they're not in the same area of specialization. Different age groups are great because the younger generation can learn from the older generation and vice versa. When I was in medical school, it was hard to find a mentor, and I went through school and residency, figuring things out on my own. So, it's great to be in a setting talking to people who have been through it and are retired and who can give some words of wisdom to the next generation. I'm at a point in my career where I can help newer physicians, medical students, and residents, and the same goes for many other members, which is why I find HMS to be all-inclusive. 


Why should a new generation of doctors and medical professionals get involved with a "new" HMS? 

Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel mentioned in his lecture that connecting with others is one of the keys to fighting burnout. I saw HMS as a solution to that. HMS creates a more connected community both professionally and personally. We all need to be able to connect with someone. HMS has become a group of individuals who truly understand me. I believe that a new generation of healthcare professionals will be able to benefit from this collegiality and join a community that values their input and can sympathize with them.


What's the most critical issue doctors of internal medicine are facing right now? 

Internal medicine is broad, but a prevalent issue is that many primary physicians are leaving because they're either retiring or withdrawing from the field altogether. Because of the pandemic, many people are seeking alternative ways to practice medicine. Individuals close to retirement age are retiring early, so patients ask, "Where can I find a new primary care doctor?"  


How can HMS help bridge the gap to reach medical school students to ensure we're cultivating a new cohort of leaders?  

When I was in medical school, I was on various committees. I primarily learned new things when we had speakers come to our school to talk to these committees. As members of these groups, we would discuss what we were interested in learning about, who we wanted to present to us, and what kind of events we wanted to hold. We then had events where professionals came and talked about their specialty, how they found a mentor, and other basic life questions. Based on that experience, I would envision HMS as having an event where medical professionals travel to medical schools and speak to the students because medical students don't always have time to travel due to the nature of their studies. I believe it’s valuable to meet students where they are.


How do you envision the new HMS and how it should impact the greater Hartford medical community? 

Since we are a Connecticut-based society, we should be doing something that will make a difference in Connecticut. When I was in medical school, we had a free clinic where some local physicians would volunteer alongside us medical students, which was a great learning opportunity. I would suggest that HMS do a similar event where members volunteer at a clinic with medical students to not only give back but also model what working in the field is like. I also envision HMS organizing an annual medical mission to a rural or economically disadvantaged town in Connecticut to address their healthcare needs. Conducting a community health assessment will help identify the specific resources required for future investments. This approach ensures sustainability and sets HMS apart from other organizations in the area. Let’s work to cultivate a future generation of local medical leaders interested in giving back to our community. 


 Are you ready to unlock a world of knowledge, collaboration, and inspiration in healthcare? If so, HMS is calling your name.  

 By joining HMS, you open the door to thought-provoking events and networking opportunities that will expand your knowledge and challenge you to think beyond the boundaries of your medical specialty. You'll have the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals, from seasoned physicians with a wealth of wisdom, aspiring students brimming with passion, to doctors like Dr. Tamika Blackburn, who is currently making waves in our local medical field. 

 By becoming an HMS member, you become part of a vibrant community that thrives on collaboration and innovation. Forge meaningful connections that will fuel your personal and professional growth. Share ideas, exchange experiences, and together, make a lasting impact on the future of medicine.