To close out our Black History Month features, PAGNY is excited to feature Dr. Melvin E. Stone Jr.! A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Stone is the Chief of Surgery at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County.
We sat down with Dr. Stone to learn more about his perspective as a Black medical provider. Here’s what he had to say:
PAGNY: Why is Black representation in medical professionals important?
Dr. Stone: The best bedside manner I believe is always informed by how well we connect as human beings with similar desires, fears and challenges. It’s not an absolute necessity, but when the doctor looks like the patient, shares similar culture, etc. that human connection is sometimes easier to obtain and maintain.
PAGNY: Which Black historical figures inspire you and your work the most?
Dr. Stone: All of the Black historical figures are an inspiration in some shape or form because no matter what the “first Black anything or anyone..”, in general, have had it so much harder than those coming after them. And that’s what my mother taught me and who inspired me most. She had me very young and never finished her education but was always excited about medical career and likely would have made twice the doctor I am today.
PAGNY: What advice would you give to the next generation of Black medical providers?
Dr. Stone: Same advice my best mentors gave to me: “Always work hard and do your best in treating patients as it is a sacred privilege to help people who are ill and the more you put into it the more enjoyment and rewards you will get back from medicine as a profession.”
Black History Month serves as a powerful opportunity to showcase our Black providers and acknowledge the historical inequities and biases that have long existed in the medical profession. We are engaged in a continuous process of learning from these providers and are committed to building a healthcare workforce that reflects the communities that we serve. We consider equity in all aspects of our organization to ensure that all professionals have the chance to fulfill their most ambitious potential and celebrate the achievements of our providers.