10 Under 10: Distinguished Young Alumni of 2024

The Winners of 2024

Stephanie Brown, DDS, ’18, is a Michigan native who earned her undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University. In 2014, she attended Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry, graduating in 2018. Following dental school, Dr. Brown completed her Pediatric Dental Residency at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida. She achieved board certification in Pediatric Dentistry in 2021 and currently practices in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Dr. Brown has a longstanding passion for community service, starting with her involvement in Meals on Wheels at an early age. Throughout dental school, she participated in various community service activities, including Big Brothers Big Sisters. Dr. Brown advocates for community engagement and emphasizes the importance of mentoring others on their journeys. She actively serves as a Board Member and Director of Community Involvement for the Grand Rapids Young Professionals.

Beyond her professional commitments, Dr. Brown dedicates time to delivering meals to seniors through Meals on Wheels Western Michigan and volunteers as a general volunteer and facilitator at Kids Food Basket.

In her leisure time, Dr. Brown enjoys quality moments with family and friends, engages in fitness activities, and explores her love for travel.

Motivation:

My source of motivation is my family. After my mom passed away in 2020, the three of us: my dad, my sister and I, try to take as many photos together as we can for memories. They remind me of the importance of not taking for granted the quality time, support and value of your family.

Dr. Ratrice Jackson is an advocate, author, leader, and pediatric dentist born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. She extremely passionate about helping youth realize their greatest potential. Dr. Jackson possesses a steadfast desire for providing inspiration, altruistic, and quality care to others.

 

Dr. Jackson earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She then journeyed to Nashville, Tennessee where she received her Masters of Health Sciences degree and Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry. Following dental school, Dr. Jackson completed her Advanced Education in Pediatric Dentistry Residency from NYU Langone Hospitals: Tampa, Florida Site. Dr. Jackson is currently in Dallas, Texas where she has her pediatric dental office with Texas Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics!

 

Dr. Ratrice Jackson has received many awards and has been included in a variety of magazines including but not limited to: John H. Johnson Achievement Award, Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry (SSPD) Frank H. Farrington Service and Leadership Award, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) Resident Recognition Award, National Dental Association Foundation Colgate Palmolive Scholarship Award, Tampa’s Dentist of the Year: Tampa Style Magazine, NYU Langone Health Special Edition: THE BRIDGE Issue 9, Journal”, Pediatric Dentistry Today (PDT) Magazine, and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee Scholarship Award.

Motivation:

This picture exemplifies and details how I have endlessly pursued opportunities and often encountered hardship. Struggles I have faced includes being told “You Can’t”. Being told “you can’t” comes in different forms. That includes experiences, other’s belief on your goal, what statistics show, or even that little voice in the back of your head. Let’s face it, we all have experienced this to some capacity. What I have learned throughout my many struggles is that I have the final say on what I believe to kick the “T” off of the “Can’t”. For me, once I realized what all I could overcome by changing my mindset and believing “You Can”, my situation started to appear differently. This is not to say, I never experienced anymore adversity, but what I have learned—has been a secret discovery to becoming the best version of myself. My book titled “Of Course, You Can’t” is my source of motivation and I continue to use it as a reminder that no matter how bad your situation may look, no matter how many times you miss your goal, kick your “T” off and continue pushing forward!

Kendria Kelly-Taylor, Ph.D., MSPH, hails from metro Atlanta, GA, and is a versatile public health professional celebrated for her academic prowess, community engagement, and service commitment. Dr. Kelly-Taylor earned her Bachelor of Science in Movement and Sports Science from Purdue University in 2014, followed by a Master of Science in Public Health from Meharry Medical College in 2018. During her matriculation at Meharry, Dr. Kelly-Taylor conducted impactful research on topics like HPV vaccination intention among African American male college students and presented at prestigious conferences like the American Public Health Association Conference.

 

Expanding her academic horizons, Dr. Kelly-Taylor earned her Ph.D. in Epidemiology & Population Health from the University of Louisville in 2023. Her research spans diverse domains, from analyzing HIV testing patterns among formerly incarcerated Black youth to investigating adverse birth outcomes among Black mothers in Des Moines, Iowa. Her academic contributions were recognized with awards for teaching excellence and outstanding community engagement.

 

In addition to her scholarly achievements, Dr. Kelly-Taylor’s dedication to service and leadership shone through her role as Clinic Coordinator for Meharry’s Salt Wagon Community Clinic, where she ensured quality healthcare access to underserved populations. She also co-founded the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association at the University of Louisville creating a safe space that fostered academic achievement for Black students. She further extended her impact through community outreach, including comprehensive sexual health education presentations for Goodwill’s RISE program, and served on the University of Louisville Bias Incident Response Team. At present, Dr. Kelly-Taylor provides service to the greater San Mateo County serving as a committee lead to the Social Action Committee of the San Francisco-Peninsula Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

 

Currently, as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Women’s and Children’s Health Section at Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, Dr. Kelly-Taylor integrates her expertise in epidemiology with a passion for community-engaged research. Her work focuses on unraveling social and structural factors contributing to health inequities among Black populations, particularly in perinatal, sexual, and reproductive health, exemplifying her dedication to advancing health equity.

Motivation:

My motivation stems from the unwavering support of my family and friends, with my mother, Stacy Kelly-Taylor, standing as my greatest inspiration. Her embodiment of resilience, dedication, compassion, and unconditional love has profoundly shaped my values and aspirations. Witnessing her efforts to educate and uplift children in underserved communities has instilled in me a deep commitment to service. I am driven to carry forward her legacy of excellence with grace and humility, aspiring to serve as a guiding beacon for my children and future generations, just as she has done for me.

Dr. Erika King is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry practicing in Sebastian, Florida with a diverse educational journey. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia in 2006. Upon graduation, she worked as a pharmaceutical representative for Pfizer, Inc. from 2006-2009. She obtained her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry in Nashville, Tennessee in 2014 followed by a General Practice Residency at Harlem Hospital Center in New York, New York. Dr. King served as a general dentist for the Tampa Bay Pinellas County community in a federally health qualified center from 2015-2019. She then returned to New York to earn her pediatric dental certificate from Harlem Hospital Center, affiliated with Columbia University in 2021.

 

Since completing her pediatric dental residency, Dr. King has obtained her Florida sedation permit and has been working in a private practice. She is currently serving as the Vice-President of the Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and is also on the New Dentist Committee for the National Dental Association, in which she was recently selected as a 2023 “40 under 40” honoree.

 

In addition to her professional achievements, Dr. King enjoys a balanced life outside of work by engaging in community events, cooking, traveling, exercising, and spending time with her loved ones. Her participation in international dental mission trips and projects underscores her commitment to using her skills and expertise to help those in need, locally and globally. Some of her international community affairs include partaking in a mission trip to St. Mary’s Parish, Jamaica to work emergency dental clinics, a people-to-people dental hygiene project in Havana, Cuba and most recently, she was able to visit the children’s hospital dental department in Panama City, Panama on behalf of the United States Smile Train Team to discuss cleft palate treatments of local children.

 

Dr. King is a 4th generation Meharrian. Her great-grandfather is Dr. Joseph King, Sr., DDS (class of 1927). Her grandfather is Dr. Joseph King, Jr., DDS (class of 1954). Her father is Dr. Joseph King, III, MD (class of 1981) and her uncle is Dr. James King (class of 1985). She is excited to be a part of the professional dental community and looks forward to giving back however she can.

Dr. Andrew D.A. Marshall (SOM 2015) is Board-Certified in Emergency Medicine and Clinical Informatics. He currently practices Emergency Medicine in Boston, MA where he serves as the Director of Population Health and Associate Director of the Office of IDEaS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice) for Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine. He is an Instructor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School where his work centers around the innovative use of technology to improve patient experience and promote equitable outcomes.

 

Dr. Marshall grew up in the Nashville area, where he went to Hume-Fogg High School. He studied Computer Science at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama and worked as a software engineer at NASA and Northrop Grumman before attending Meharry Medical College. After his graduation in 2015 he completed his Emergency Medicine Training at the University of Chicago where he served as Chief Resident, before completing a Fellowship in Clinical Informatics at Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and obtaining a Masters in Biomedical Informatics from Harvard Medical school.

 

Dr. Marshall has carved out a niche exploring innovation with lens focused on equity. He has collaborated with industry partners to vet and research technologies aimed at improving patient experience in the Emergency Department, worked to develop automated screening algorithms for patient selection, and is currently focused on responsibly applying advances in Artificial Intelligence to healthcare. He has given lectures on Digital Equity at Harvard Medical School and presented on healthcare innovation and health equity at regional, national, and international conferences. Outside of academics, Andrew has worked in health technology consulting, and works closely with a digital health company in the Caribbean, building software to improve outcomes in the region.

 

Throughout his academic career Andrew has shown a constant commitment to mentorship and community service. As a fellow he founded the Data Science Summer Research Program at BIDMC, a program centered around providing exposure to underrepresented students in medicine to Clinical Informatics. He currently serves as co-lead of the Augustus White Society at Harvard Medical School, an organization focused on creating an inclusive environment for Black Men at Harvard. Through his work with the Office of IDEaS he has built community partnerships and helped develop and support mentorship programs for underrepresented youth at all levels. He continues to personally mentor medical students, residents, and fellows interested in Emergency Medicine, Informatics, or entrepreneurship.

Motivation:

My source of motivation is my family.

 

I am grateful for my mother, who gave up her dreams of a career in medicine to raise my sister and I. It was her passion for science that she lovingly passed on to me during my early years that gave me the dream of medicine.

 

I am thankful for my father. Along with my mother, he taught me the values of hard work, perseverance, and patience necessary to pursue this career. It was through the lens of his medical care that I witnessed both the lifesaving capability of our Healthcare System, and the deep flaws that require innovative solutions.

 

I am eternally grateful for the unwavering support and belief of my sister, uncles, aunts, grandparents and church family that have all contributed to my vision and mission more than they can ever know.

Jordan Pierre, born and raised in the vibrant city of New Orleans, LA, is the youngest child of Bernard and Angelica Pierre. Passionate about music, art, and culture, Jordan’s journey led to academic achievements, graduating from Xavier University of Louisiana in December 2015 and later from Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry in 2020. As a distinguished financial member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated, Jordan’s initiation at the Delta Chapter at Meharry Medical College in 2017, marked a pivotal moment in his life. Actively engaged in organized dentistry, he is a proud member of the National Dental Association, American Dental Association, and the Tennessee Dental Association. Now the proud owner of a dental practice in Hendersonville, TN, Jordan is on a mission to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations of minority healthcare providers, acting as a bridge builder between generations.

Motivation:

Tyler, my girlfriend, is the unwavering beacon of inspiration in my life. Her intellect, philanthropic spirit, and unyielding drive create a magnetic force that propels me towards continual self-improvement. Her wisdom and ability to make a positive impact on the world serve as a constant reminder of the transformative power of determination and compassion. Tyler’s presence ignites a fire within me, pushing me to surpass my limits and strive for excellence. In her, I find not just a partner, but a source of motivation that shapes my aspirations and fuels my journey towards becoming the best version of myself.

Dr. Melissa D. Porter was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. As a child, she knew that she wanted to provide care for children when she grew up. After many years of hard work and dedication, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in English.

 

Following college, Dr. Porter was accepted to Meharry Medical College School of Graduate Studies and obtained her Masters in Health Science, in 2013. She continued her education at Meharry and was conferred a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry, in 2017. Dr. Melissa Porter wanted to ensure that she provided a high-level of care for her patients and continued her Post-Doctoral Studies at Meharry Medical College General Practice Residency (GPR) Program, where she served as the Chief Resident from 2017-2018. While in the GPR program, she was afforded the opportunity to present research at the 2018 Hinman Conference Table Clinics.

 

Post General Practice Residency, Dr. Porter practiced for more than 6 years serving underprivileged and underrepresented populations at a federally qualified health center in the Public Health arena, as well as simultaneously providing care in a Hispanic Dental clinic and Private Practice. Dr. Porter’s determination to further her education and accomplish a lifelong dream of becoming a Pediatric Dentist did not cease so she applied and was accepted. Currently, she is a resident in the inaugural class of the Meharry Medical College Pediatric Dentistry Residency Program.

 

Most recently, Dr. Porter was selected as the 2023 Dr. Bessie Delaney Scholarship Recipient by the National Dental Association Foundation at the annual National Dental Association conference. She has also served as the Resident Representative for the 2024 Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry Annual Meeting, a guest speaker on Preventative Dentistry at the 2024 Annual Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Team Meeting and a speaker at the Meharry Chapter of the American Association for Women Dentists 5th Annual Women’s Symposium. Dr. Melissa Porter is adamant about increasing dental education for patients and caregivers, thereby reducing caries and the resulting sequela of infection, pain and early tooth loss. She has a special interest in raising awareness and the promotion of preventative care, merging Dental Public Health and Pediatric Dentistry, educating future Pediatric Dentists, and completing meaningful research.

 

When she is not attempting to save one tooth at a time, Dr. Porter enjoys spending quality time with her son, Jayden, dogs, Zero and Skor, family and close friends. She loves volunteering locally and globally- at community events and on international mission trips, exploring new restaurants, reading “physical” books, caring for her many plant babies and “hunting for unique
finds” (shopping).

 

Dr. Melissa Danielle Porter is honored to be recognized in the 2024 class of Meharry Medical College’s 10 Under 10.

Motivation:

This is Jayden Micah Porter-Lampley affectionately known as “JJ”, my 15 year old son. He was born as I was beginning my junior year of college at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University and he is my primary source of motivation. I was determined to provide him the best life I possible while continuing to achieve my dreams of becoming a dentist. By the time I was 19 years old, I could be considered the poster child for the following statistics: I was the child of an incarcerated parent, had immediate family members stricken by preventable diseases, was a single mother and the only person in my father’s immediate family to obtain an education beyond a GED. Jayden would have a different path with every possible positive experience and much more exposure than I was afforded. He has taken advantage of every opportunity and made me such a proud mother.

 

Jayden is currently an exceptional student at Hume Fogg Academic Magnet High School in Nashville, TN with a passion for the study of Zoology. He enjoys playing basketball recreationally and soccer for his school and a travel team, as well as playing chess. He is an avid debater and is passionate about advocacy as he has participated in marches on gun violence and equal rights. While I am being honored today, none of my accomplishments would have been possible without the influence of my JJ! The expectation that I have as a proud mother is that Jayden will continue on his upward trajectory, find his own passions by leaving his footprint on society and being a force in the community in which he lives and thrives.

Dr. Felix completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Boston University, and later pursued a Masters in Medical Sciences from Boston University School of Medicine. He then decided to pursue a career in Dentistry, and completed his studies at Meharry School of Dentistry in Nashville, followed by a Pediatric Dental residency at Howard University in Washington, DC. Dr. Felix became a partner at Cumberland Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics in 2016, which was later acquired by a private equity group in October 2021. Additionally, he has been a co-owner of a general dental clinic in the Nashville area since 2018. In 2021, he became the youngest Guardian of Meharry Medical College, which is a group of alumni who have given a minimum of $100,000 to the institution. Dr. Felix is also a founding member of the Midtown Nashville Surgery Center, which is set to open in 2024.

 

Dr. Felix is originally from Port Harcourt, Nigeria, but spent most of his childhood in East Lyme, Connecticut. He met his wife, Dr. Brittany Vincent, while in dental school and they now live in Brentwood, TN. with their daughters, Brooke, Olivia, and Bianca, and dog, Mr. Darcy. In his free time, Dr. Felix enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing soccer, traveling, spoiling his dog, and cheering on the New England Patriots. Dr. Felix loves being a Pediatric Dentist because he loves working with children. He is an active member of the Tennessee Dental Association, Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry Association, and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Christopher Watson is a board-certified Family Medicine Physician practicing full scope family medicine including surgical obstetrics in Jacksonville, FL. He is currently a Core Faculty Member at Ascension St. Vincent’s Family Medicine Residency Program. He also serves as supervising physician for women’s health advanced practice practitioners for a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Agape Health, in Jacksonville, FL. He is currently active with the Florida Academy of Family Physicians (FAFP) Justice, Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Task Force as well as the Physician Trustee for the American Academy of Family Physician Foundation. He is also an active member of the Sigma Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Christopher is a Teach For America Alumni as well as a National Health Service (NHS) scholar. As a NHS scholar, he worked in Warner Robins, Georgia at the Houston Healthcare Family Medicine Residency Program where he was responsible for the women’s health and obstetrics curriculum for the program. He was the first family physician to practice obstetrics in that particular healthcare system since the 1970s. Christopher received his B.S. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and his MPH from Georgia State University. As an undergraduate Ronald E. McNair Scholar, he conducted research on cancer education and support programs for low-income African American cancer survivors. As a part of his Master’s capstone, he examined strategies to reduce tobacco use in Atlanta. He served as a Mayo Clinic Summer intern and conducted a research project addressing health promotion and intervention for black men. Between receiving an MPH and enrolling in medical school, Christopher worked as a teacher through Teach for America, where he taught high school science at a low-income community in Atlanta for three years. Christopher graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville,TN. He also received a Certificate in Health Policy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College. During his time at Meharry, Christopher served as the Pre-Alumni President and the Student Observer to the Board of Trustees. He completed his residency in Family Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana, and he completed an additional year of training in Family Medicine Obstetrics at Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program in Tallahassee, FL. Christopher has an array of interests in primary care including maternal health, female reproductive health at any age, men’s health, and transgender health. He is interested in creating safe spaces for patients that promote inclusion and diversity.

Motivation:

This picture is my motivation… My entire life my mother has always instilled in me the wise words “To whom much is given, much is required.” I take those words to heart. I feel that because I have been blessed tremendously throughout my life I chose a career in which I could honor my family and operate in my purpose and passing which is serving my community as an advocate and health educator. Being from Alabama, I am obligated to work against the ever- enlarging health gap in the rural south by focusing on the prevention and treatment of adult diseases. My mother and family keeps me grounded, humbled, and focused on my life’s purpose.

Maj (Dr.) Letitia Lyons Watson is the eldest child of Michael and Reba Lyons. Born to two career Army veterans she was born and Germany and lived in 5 different states and Korea by the time she reached high school. Letitia attended Old Dominion University on a full athletic scholarship and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree. She then matriculated at Meharry Medical College through first completing the post-baccalaureate program followed by her Doctor of Medicine degree, graduating in 2014. Later that same year, she received a direct commission in the United States Air Force through the Financial Assistance Program. After medical school she completed her residency training in Gynecologic Surgery and Obstetrics (GS&O) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in Texas where she was peer-selected as the administrative chief resident during her 4th year.

 

Upon residency graduation Letitia embarked on her active-duty Air Force career at her first duty station, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. In addition to practicing full-scope GS&O medicine, she was also the clinic’s flight commander. This position involved managing a team of active-duty officer, enlisted and civilian personnel in the execution of all aspects of clinical operations in GS&O including provider templates, scheduling, budgeting, patient satisfaction, equipment management and military readiness. She assumed the same role at her next duty station, Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) at Ft. Sam Houston, TX which is home to the Department of Defense’s sole Level I Trauma Center and largest GS&O clinic in service of 255,000 beneficiaries. Currently, she serves as the Deputy Surgical Operations Squadron Commander in the 959th Medical Group. In this role she assists the Commander in supervising over 350 members supporting several specialty and subspecialty surgical services and the Air Force’s largest Graduate Medical Education platform with 35 residency programs. Additionally, she is the Chair of BAMC’s Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) where she is the chief advocate and educator of DEI initiatives and has overseen major wins to include the conversion of all BAMC single-use restrooms to gender-neutral restrooms.

 

Letitia’s hard work, dedication and servant leadership have yielded recognition with several awards to include Air Education and Training Command Surgeon General’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Individual Award, 959th Medical Group’s Field Grade Officer Provider of the Year, Old Dominion University’s 40 under 40 Alumni Recognition Program, Air Force District of Washington Company Grade Officer Physician of the Year, and the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal.

 

Letitia is the devoted wife of Kurt (Meharry ’13) and proud mom of Miles (12) and Ian (2).

Past Winners