When I was little, I wanted to be all sorts of things when I grew up. I talked about becoming a garbage truck driver, a postal worker, a pilot, a journalist, a dental hygienist. The list goes on and on! Today, I am fortunate to have a career in the nonprofit sector that brings my life joy and purpose. The idea for my book, The Girls Who Dreamed, was rooted in my belief that young girls can grow up to be anything. My hope is that by highlighting real women working in real professions, the young girls reading my book will be inspired and motivated to chase their own big and bold dreams.

Shastra Solomon Brantley, Family Physician at The University of North Carolina Student Health Center

Where did you obtain your degree?

University of Connecticut School of Medicine & Dentistry

How old were you when you first thought about becoming a Family Physician? Who or what was your inspiration?

I was 12 years old and actually inspired by my Pediatrician who overlooked a reversible defect in my eyes. This resulted in a “weakened vision” that could have been prevented. Because I loved science, math and people, I decided to become a Physician to not just detect disease but to prevent it for my future Patients.

What is your favorite part of your job? What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment to date?

My favorite part is helping my Patients through a rough and often scary time in their lives when they are ill and then seeing their health be restored when they are healed. This gives my life purpose and great satisfaction. By far, my biggest accomplishment is being a mother of two phenomenal, good-hearted, intelligent, and compassionate children. Seeing the sacrifices you make as a mother and all you pour into your children manifest into kind human beings makes me feel accomplished and I Thank God everyday for my husband and kids!

Do you consider your field to be male-dominated? If so, how does that impact your work?

My particular specialty, Family Medicine, is female-dominated and while sadly significantly lower in pay than the more traditionally male-dominated specialties, it is by far more gratifying for me. I feel I can make a significant impact on my Patients lives on various levels through Family Medicine since we treat the whole person, mind, body, and spirit. Thankfully, I feel my voice is heard and I feel respected.

Do you have any advice to share with a young girl dreaming about a career in Family Medicine? What do you wish you knew going into it?

My advice is to shadow a Physician, if you can, and see what it is really like to be a Physician on a day-to-day basis. Make sure it is truly your passion and that you are going into it to sincerely help people, not for the money or status. The process is difficult, but you can do it with a lot of determination and prayer. Once you realize it is your calling, then pursue it wholeheartedly and do not let minor setbacks deter you.

What is your favorite quote? Something that inspires and motivates you to do your best each day?

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

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