From CNA to MD

A Maternal Child Health Fellow is reaching her goals one step at a time 

Dr. Latonya Beatty started her medical career as a certified nursing assistant before getting her nursing degree from East Carolina University and working as a nurse for three years. She then went back to school to become a nurse practitioner and then back to school again to become a family medicine physician.

“Dr. Beatty has worked hard to achieve her goals. She has worked her way up through the ranks of medicine,” explained Dr. Bill Gist, MAHEC’s Ob/Gyn Residency Program Director.

God and her love of family medicine pushed Dr. Beatty to keep going back to school. “I wanted to obtain a stronger skill set for the interests I love within family medicine.”

Now Dr. Beatty is finishing her Maternal Child Health Fellowship. As a fellow at MAHEC, she says you can look forward to plenty of rural and full-spectrum experiences. Growing up in Columbus County in Eastern North Carolina, she is no stranger to rural healthcare. After her fellowship, Dr. Beatty is looking forward to returning closer to home to Wilmington, NC, where she completed her residency.

One of the differences between the western and eastern parts of the state, Dr. Beatty notes, is that Western North Carolina lacks the diversity of her home region. However, she’s felt support from MAHEC’s recent White Coats for Black Lives event and recent race caucuses, or affinity groups, which are safe spaces for support and connection within racial/ethnic groups.

“Even though it’s not very diverse here in Asheville, I do feel like most people are very culturally aware,” said Dr. Beatty. “When I got the email that we were kneeling for George Floyd, I felt very supported in that along with the employee race caucuses that Talent Management facilitated.”

In addition to rural medicine, Dr. Beatty says she has most enjoyed getting more experience in the ob/gyn department. “I really like picking up those high-risk OB skills.”

Dr. Gist explains that “the Maternal Child Health Fellowship is designed to train fellows in high-risk obstetrics through rotations in MAHEC’s high-risk clinic with our maternal-fetal medicine specialists and in a labor and delivery unit where they support high-risk labor patients and high-risk antenatal and postpartum patients.

Dr. Beatty has also enjoyed working with and helping residents from the ob/gyn and family medicine departments. Dr. Gist points out that this collaboration between departments is what makes MAHEC’s residency and fellowship programs stand out.

“MAHEC is a unique organization where collaboration is the foundation and message of the organization,” said Dr. Gist. “This is typified by the interaction in the labor and delivery unit with the OB department and the family medicine program. Residents from both programs work together to care for the patients from Western North Carolina. The departments work together and share a collegial relationship not seen in many institutions.”

Once her fellowship is over, Dr. Beatty will be headed back to Wilmington, where Dr. Gist and the rest of the ob/gyn department know she will continue to do great things.

“She has been an integral part of our team and she will be deeply missed as she heads home to start her medical practice,” said Dr. Gist. “We are proud of the work that Dr. Beatty has accomplished while here, but sad to see her go.”