We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtnie Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtnie, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Authenticity. In my experience, the only way you can walk in your purpose is by being true to yourself first. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to mold myself into who I thought I needed to be. I still have so much learning to do, but I am blessed to have been able to free myself from those sorts of unhealthy thoughts and patterns. We are all here to contribute to something greater than our individual selves – the doctors, the creatives, the lawyers, the policy makers, and everyone else. As a future physician, my end goal is to be an advocate for the health of black and brown communities. If I allowed myself to be influenced by forces that go against my personal mission I’ll end up doing a disservice to the same communities that I intend to support – I would be lost. However, I noticed that when I began to purposefully study myself and focus on my own personal growth a lot of doors began to open for me both professionally and personally. I’ve been able to see a lot of my obstacles become milestones by remaining grounded in my faith and my own personal development.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m currently a second year medical student in the UCLA/Charles Drew Medical Education Program. As a medical student, I am one of the Street Outreach Chiefs of the Student Run Homeless Clinic (SRHC). Through SRHC I have been able to provide medical care to LA’s undomiciled population in efforts to combat the health inequities that this group faces daily. I am also heavily involved in mentorship programs geared towards supporting underrepresented minority pre-medical students as they navigate their journey to medicine and the application to medical school. Lastly, I’ve recently become involved with various volunteer efforts to combat increasing need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, such as food distribution in the Nickerson Gardens housing complex and volunteer work with Westside Friends. I listed these things because I feel this is what sets me apart. As I’ve mentioned before, community means everything to me. At every stage in my life I have always sought out ways to be a visible and present resource for those around me. There’s a huge difference between talking about it and actually being about it – whatever “it” may be. Being this involved is far from easy…it takes a lot of coordination and organization on my part to ensure that I am always where I need to be at the right times. I’ve had to learn how to balance my community engagement with my academics, which has definitely been tough, but I’m willing to do the work. It goes back to my value of authenticity. I’m not being true to myself if I’m not active in my community. When I become too engulfed with only being a student, I start to get distracted from my end goal and quickly feel the dread of “burn out”. I want the world, especially black and brown students, to know that all of this is possible. As a first generation student, I didn’t have any doctors in my family or close knit community so I never even considered the idea that being a physician was possible for me until my senior year of high school. Now, I’m here to show that this is what a Black woman in medicine looks like – we can be ground-breaking physicians, we can successfully treat our own people, and we can be ten times better if needed.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would definitely recommend Hot N Juicy, Simply Wholesome, Tsujita, and Killer Shrimp. These are some of my favorite restaurants and they all fit perfectly with my pescatarian lifestyle. I would suggest Tart, my all time favorite brunch place. At some point during their trip they must try Salt and Straw – I love their ice cream so much that this would probably have to be my first stop. I generally have a more relaxed personality but I also love to be active. I have season passes to both Six Flags and Disneyland so I would have one of those places on their itinerary. I’m not huge on going out to clubs. Lounges, like 31ten in Santa Monica, and happy hours are a perfect vibe for me so I’ll add that to the list too. Last but not least, the beach! For people who haven’t been to LA before, I like to take them to Santa Monica and walk along the pier to Venice. It’s a really calming walk and there’s a lot to see so it works out perfectly.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Community is so important to me that I couldn’t imagine choosing one person or group of people to shoutout. I always make an effort to acknowledge that I haven’t gotten where I am on my own. It truly took a village to get me to this point and I’m going to need that village as my journey continues. But, when I think about my support system my mom is always the first person that comes to mind. She has been my biggest fan, advocate, and believer. My mom plays such an integral part in my success. I can wholeheartedly say that she has fostered the development of the majority of my strength and confidence. So, if I had to choose one person I would dedicate my shoutout to my mom. However, it is definitely not that easy and I of course have to shoutout my entire village as well – there’s my entire family, high school best friends and teachers, college best friends and mentors, and finally the amazingly supportive friends I’ve met in medical school. I have so many people in mind that fit into these categories and for each of them I can point out specific ways that they have helped me grow professionally and personally. They have all helped me be the person that I am today and I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without them.