Meharry School of Medicine Class of 2024 Spotlight: Yewande Dada

Yewande grew up in Bensalem, Pennsylvania and Houston, Texas, and is the first in her family to attend medical school. Her time at Meharry led her to present research about developmental behavioral pediatrics at two national conferences and one international conference; her research has also been published in peer-reviewed medical journals. Yewande also developed a program that allows medical students to obtain a certification in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND). But before she graduates on May 18, she recalled how her love for pediatrics started.

 

In eighth grade, Yewande participated in a STEM program and learned about medicine. That program led her to intern at UT Southwestern in 2011, where she met her mentor, Dr. Vennecia Jackson, and where she first learned about developmental behavioral pediatrics.

 

“I wanted to learn more about caring for children who have disabilities. My internship at UT Southwestern was my first exposure to the field of pediatrics, and the first time I had a Black women in medicine as my mentor.” she said. Yewande’s experience at UT Southwestern confirmed her interests in providing care to children through developmental behavioral pediatrics, particularly those from marginalized communities.

 

The School of Medicine student, soon to graduate, will return to Texas and begin her pediatrics residency at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She calls this opportunity a full circle moment.

 

“I was pretty happy to find out that I matched there because they played such a significant role in my decision to pursue pediatrics, all the mentors I had were great. They really supported me and really taught me so much during my time with them” she said.

 

Her younger brother, Babafemi, also played a significant role in her life. Femi was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was born. His diagnosis motivated Yewande’s interest in medicine and research focused on supporting the success of children with disabilities.

 

“I really wanted to help kids with disabilities be the best they can be, especially growing up seeing some of the challenges my brother and family faced. I am really passionate about research that is patient-and-family-centered; if you’re trying to address an issue and not include the people impacted by the issue, are you really going to effectively address their needs? It’s really important to ensure the experiences of children with disabilities and their families are used to improve the care we provide.” she said.

 

Yewande said she’s grateful for her time at Meharry and being able to learn from her experiences within the surrounding community. She’s excited to see what her future holds.