First-generation twin doctors Brittani and Brandi Jackson are on a mission to create a community of doctors for underrepresented people. Growing up, the twins never had people who looked like them that they could look up to, so they decided to be that backbone for upcoming doctors.
The identical Jackson twins grew up in Twinsburg, Ohio, which is a lower-income area, segregated and primarily dominated by African Americans. The twins overcame all obstacles including racial discrimination to graduate high school as salutatorians.
They both had an interest in science. After encountering a Black female doctor in high school, they were inspired to got medical school amid financial woes.
“It’s hard to envision yourself as something you don’t see. But as I got further into medicine, I realized that maybe I could be a visual reminder to someone who looks like me, that they can be anything. At least that is my hope,” Brittani said.
Unlike many twins who end up in the same school after high school, Brittani and Brandi went to different medical schools. Whereas Brittani went to the University of Michigan Medical School, Brandi went to Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. But as fate would have it, the pair reunited for their residency at the University of Illinois.
The Jackson twins were both elected as chief residents but work in different departments. Brandi is in the Department of Psychiatry while Brittani is into family medicine and works in the College of Medicine-Family Medicine.
Brittani and Brandi, being intentional about the importance of representation, turned down big paying jobs to work at the university hospital. They have devoted themselves to serve underserved communities medically, especially minorities and women, Duchess International Magazine reported.
This propelled them to create a website with the sole aim of inspiring people of color who want to pursue a career in medicine. Med Like Me is an interactive platform that serves as a resource center for younger people who want to pursue medical careers. Fewer than 6 percent of doctors in the U.S. are African American, and the twin sisters are hoping to change that.
“For us, it’s not enough to say, ‘we made it.’ We want to help others do it too,” Brandi said. “It’s our way of giving back to the hundreds of people who have helped us on our journey through medicine. We want to pay it forward. We’re hoping to change the face of medicine, together.”