"SHPEP (the ‘new’ MMEP) influenced me by helping me to develop confidence in my academic skillset, giving me the courage to seek help when I need it..."
Mr. Traylor is a 2002 program scholar of the Minority Medical Education Program at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor of science in microbiology and community health promotion (Northern Arizona University). Mr. Traylor went on to earn a master of science in pharmacology and a masters of public health from Michigan State University.
What led to your interest in a health profession?
There were a number of influences on my desire to pursue a career in the health professions but the most formative event was my training as a U.S. Army combat medic. The training and skills that I developed were key to me developing an interest in the health professions but more importantly, the rigorous training and the constant pressure to strive to be my best at all. Times, helped me to develop confidence that no matter what obstacles may arise, I would be well-equipped to adapt and overcome.
What obstacles did you overcome in your educational or career journey?
There was a time when I did not think even finishing my undergraduate studies was going to happen. I dealt with being homeless for about a year and later, I lost my sight in both eyes. While my condition (Keratoconus) was treatable, I did not have health insurance and so, from 2005 until 2007, I went untreated. Fortunately, because of the kindness of others, particularly my OD, Dr. Frank Akers, my vision was restored and I was able to eventually finish my undergraduate studies and complete two master’s degrees on my way to establishing a career as a university faculty member and public health researcher.
What surprised you the most about graduate/health professional school?
Oh yes! My first class was respiratory pharmacology in the Michigan State University M.S. Pharmacology & Toxicology program. I remember thinking, what have I gotten myself into, after leaving the first lecture. However, I settled down and remembered a lesson that I learned in the MMEP physics class that I took: Ask for help when you need it! I sought help with learning how to study at the graduate level and I went on to successfully complete my master’s. I loved graduate school and Michigan State so much that I returned for an MPH in the summer of 2012!
How did SHPEP influence you?
I’m currently finishing my Ph.D in Nursing and Healthcare Innovation at the University of Missouri. My dissertation research focuses on primary care provider HIV PrEP prescribing practices for African American’s residing in the Southern U.S. I also teach in the MPH program at A.T. Still University College of Graduate Health Studies and since 2009, I’ve taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in public health, pharmacology, pathophysiology, medical terminology, and health information management. While my career has been very rewarding, the desire to attend medical school never left, and recently, I sat for the MCAT and as of 11/1/2020, I have been offered two medical school interviews with several more in the works. SHPEP (the ‘new’ MMEP) influenced me by helping me to develop confidence in my academic skillset, giving me the courage to seek help when I need it, and most importantly, I learned to always have faith in myself and to never give up on a dream as long as I am willing to work towards it.