Dr. Ashley Roxanne Peterson is just 24-years old and a medical doctor after starting medical school at 19-years old. She is one of the newest graduates of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and will be starting her Family Medicine residency at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA in July 2019. Additionally, she may actually be the youngest Black Osteopathic doctor ever, in modern history. We sat down with her to learn more about her incredible journey. Her story is one of resilience and focus that can inspire us all.
On Being Young
It’s not surprising that Ashley has broken records with her age. She has always been the youngest in her class, graduating high school at fifteen and then enrolling at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte at just fifteen years old as well. During her time there, she majored in Anthropology and was able to graduate in 4 years – with honors. She participated in various extracurriculars including SNMA’s Minority Association of Pre-medical Students, the Honors College, Finding Yourself in Fashion, and various other student lead organizations.
She says it has not always been easy being the youngest, as many people doubted her abilities based off her age alone. Without even getting to know her, many people turned away. But the great thing is, Ashley has been able to remain focused and resilient in her journey and has now achieved this historic milestone. When asked if she would do it over again she quickly replied “yes – of course”. She never felt as though she missed out from being younger but rather gain a different perspective from her other classmates.
Ashley says her passion for medicine started from seeing her parents service to the military and education. From their examples, she knew that she wanted to help people for the rest of her life. As a young girl, her passion for science began and by the time she graduated high school, she knew medicine was the career for her. Once in college, shadowing doctors, volunteering, and her class work only furthered her previous interest in medicine.
Her Best Advice
From her story of resilience, one thing that Ashley wants people to know is to never give up. Even when times were hard during her medical school journey she relied on her family and friends’ support to achieve her dreams. Her best advice is “ if you fall nine times stand up ten”.
Secondly, Ashley wants you to remember to stay true to your values. She states, “I went into medicine knowing that I want to help underserved and minority communities and I am continuing those passions as I continue into residency. I chose my residency based off their mission statement, current leadership, and how they give back to the community.” Morehouse School of Medicine’s Family Medicine mission statement states, “The mission of the MSM Family Medicine Residency is to train residents to become competent and excellent family physicians to serve underserved populations. Everything comes full circle – thus, never lose sight of why you started!”
Looking forward, Ashley has big plans to use her education to help the communities around her. She has special interest in global medicine, preventative medicine, minority health, media driven health outcomes, and geriatrics. She hopes to use these interests to build businesses that help patients and their families achieve their best health. She currently blogs at www.drashleyroxanne.com and posts at https://www.instagram.com/drashleyroxanne/ where you can continue to follow her story as she continues residency in Atlanta, Georgia. We are excited to see where her passions lead her next.
Congratulations Dr. Peterson!