Meet DJ Diagnosis our very first Professional Spotlight! Every month we will highlight a black professional in the Greater New Orleans area.Name: DJ Diagnosis Current Occupation(s): Psychiatry resident physician at Tulane Hospital/DJ Diagnosis Twitter Handle: @DJDiagnosis Age: 29 Hometown: New Orleans
Morgan: Where’d you go to school?
DJ Diagnosis: Saint Augustine High School c/o 2000; Morehouse College c/o 2004; Boston University School of Medicine c/o 2010
Morgan: How was that experience, undergrad in Atlanta…medical school in BOSTON?! Two totally different scenes for the black community, right?
DJ Diagnosis : Yes. My undergrad experience was excellent. Although Morehouse College is a predominantly black institution, the student body was very diverse in interests and ideas. A lot of us had different long-term goals that were similar in ambition and Morehouse really helped to refine the way in which we could use our strengths to achieve them. Additionally, Our professors always expressed the importance of taking the initiative to challenge yourself and keeping yourself open-minded to other experiences. That thought process led me to attend medical school at Boston University. It was a great institution and very challenging academically. I was again surrounded by diverse individuals but our differences lied mainly in our ethnicity and cultural backgrounds. Ultimately, we all wanted to be great doctors and that common thread created life long friendships, as well.
Morgan: What organizations do you belong to, any hobbies?
DJ Diagnosis: Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the American Psychiatric Association
Morgan: 3 words…describe yourself
DJ Diagnosis: 1. Methodical 2. Curious 3. Friendly
Morgan: 3 things the average person would not know about you
DJ Diagnosis: Classically trained saxophonist in jazz and improvisation. 2. I taught myself how to dj in 2010 while in medical school 3. I was never highly ranked academically, in any level of academic training (including grade school). I just know how to push myself and learn from others.
Morgan: So for those who haven’t figured it out yet, what do you do?
DJ Diagnosis: I’m a second year psychiatry resident at Tulane hospital. I’m training in the adult psychiatry division. We largely train to treat anxiety disorders, depression, psychosis, and substance abuse using pharmacologic interventions, psychotherapy, and patient education.. On the weekend I go by DJ Diagnosis and rock out parties. ‘Nuff said….
Medicating on different fronts
Morgan: When did your love for music/medicine/people begin?
DJ Diagnosis: My love of music began when I was 8 years old. I tried participating in various extracurricular activities but easily lost interest in them. One day after grade school a music company held a meeting where we could take turns playing various instruments. When I held the saxophone and started playing it I immediately knew I found my niche. I had always been pretty introverted but playing an instrument was the first time I felt my voice could be heard. It was a great tool for self-expression as well as forging bonds with others in band settings. Going into the medical field was a natural progression due to my love for science and natural curiosity in trying to understand illness. While some kids were afraid of going to see their doctor I was always excited about it. At an early age I knew that my pediatrician always had answers and I wanted to be like her. Going into the medical field was a combination of the desire to understand human pathology and helping others understand themselves as well.
Morgan: Did you always see yourself where you are now?
DJ Diagnosis: I figured out early on in life that consistency goes a long way. I’ve had fears of failure along the way but I never let it get in the way of trying my best to achieve whatever goal I set out for myself. I approach things very systematically: I set the goal I wish to achieve, then work backwards figuring out what it will take to reach it, and then I move forward. It’s a method that has worked well so far.
Morgan: How do you balance the two(…crazy demanding schedules…)
DJ Diagnosis: It takes a lot of organizing. As a psychiatry resident physician, there are constant schedule changes and clinical work sites that have various degrees of time commitment. As a result I often times end up turning down more DJ gigs than people think. On the other hand I get such an enjoyment from djing that it often times balances me out mentally to do my job as a physician more efficiently.
Morgan: What’s your take on the life of a NOLA professional/As a Black professional in NOLA?
DJ Diagnosis: I think NOLA is a great place. As a young professional still aiming to better my life financially, New Orleans provides various activities that are economically reasonable to participate in. New Orleans will always be a family centered city and there are many family friendly activities to enjoy here. Being a black professional in NOLA (and in America) is unique. I know a lot of people doing very well right now professionally. I also know a lot of people not doing so well at all. There is a clear economic divide in this city and many of the people here not doing well not only look like me but are also my family and friends. Being a black professional means that ultimately you have an obligation to help others try to reach their potential like you have. I think that’s the challenge that all professional blacks in America carry on their shoulders….we must always move forward while looking back to help our brothers and sisters.
Morgan: What’s lacking in the city for black professionals?
DJ Diagnosis: There aren’t many entry-level corporate jobs in the city that offer the opportunity for upward mobility. It’s largely due to NOLA not being a city where these large corporations do business.
Morgan: Is there an easy fix? What are you doing to help?
DJ Diagnosis: I don’t think there’s an easy fix. I know a few people who are building their own opportunities and developing their entrepeunership capabilities. That’s very exciting to see. Personally, I’ve been in talks with an organization in the city that will help develop those skill sets to our youths. It’s called MENovation, Inc. and you’ll hear more about this organization soon.
Morgan: Being an insider and then having a slight moment of being an outsider where you lived elsewhere and the returned after Hurricane Katrina, what changes have you seen?
DJ Diagnosis: I’ve seen the city open up more to people not from Nola since Katrina. I used to view the city as a local club with strict criteria for admission into its socio-economic ladder. Traditionally, Nola has always put a lot of emphasis on who your family was. That family centered connection has always been a special gem of this city. Our family based culture has strengthened the community feel that this city has but that same cultural mentality would ultimately have to adapt in the digital age. The world has become more connected since the birth of the internet and social media. Katrina, unfortunately dispersed many New Orleans citizens in various parts of the country. Alternatively, it also placed attention to our culture and traditions that appealed to a lot people. Subsequently many people felt compelled to assist with rebuilding efforts and stayed in New Orleans. I still see a city that is still mentally and financially trying to build itself up. I also see a city that is more open to diversity.
Morgan: So is NOLA, the end for you?
DJ Diagnosis: I would like to stay in New Orleans permanently. There’s a chance I may have to leave in order to undergo further training in psychiatry but the long-term goal will be to live in NOLA.
Morgan: Give us your parting words, a phrase you live by, a saying you once heard, your words of wisdom!
DJ Diagnosis: Too many people need affirmation from others before attempting to achieve their goals. Stay focused, never fear defeat, and learn from your mistakes. Never let life break you….only let it refine you. And lastly, it’s never too late to start a new hobby.