As high school kids growing up in the poorest and most crime-ridden cities of New Jersey, they promised to rise above their circumstances. Now, the three doctors – an emergency medicine physician, clinical dentist, and internist – are making a difference by setting positive examples and mentoring disadvantaged children.
With family members on drugs or in jail, Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt, and George Jenkins made a promise to avoid that path. Davis said, “I’m an emergency medicine physician, board-certified and I was inspired to become a doctor years ago. Grew up, very challenging background, but I made a promise, a pact with two of my friends in high school of all places to become doctors.”
The three friends went to Seton Hall University’s Pre- Medicine/Pre-Dental Plus program, which is specifically designed to encourage minority students to pursue medical careers.
Davis shared, “I know as I was going through the process, I was like, ‘Man, I gotta be the only person I know going through this. But you’ll be surprised at how many people are going through similar hardships. And so when we share that sort of sense of fellowship, it helps to kind of ease your anxiety and realize you’re not the only person, this is not the circumstance in particular for you.”
They then finished their respective medical degrees at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Today, Dr. Davis is an emergency medicine physician at several emergency departments in New Jersey, Dr. Hunt is an internist at the University Medical Center at Princeton and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Dr. Jenkins serves as Assistant Professor of Clinical Dentistry at Columbia University. The Three Doctors eventually became authors after recording their journey in a number of inspirational books.
As an emergency medicine physician, Davis is a constant witness to trauma and distress.
“I see a lot of unfortunate outcomes. I see a lot of trauma cases, gunshot wounds, stabbings, car accidents, blunt trauma, you know, I see a lot of lack of prenatal care. Just situations that are very dire. I see mental health as another big issue that we all face and that’s not in relationship to any particular community, substance abuse, I see it all. I see a lack of access to quality health care and health equity and these are the areas we need to close the gaps.”
These shortcomings and their own personal history led to the establishment of The Three Doctors Foundation with the slogan “Our children cannot aspire to be what they cannot see.” The foundation aims to motivate youth to aim higher, and reach for their dreams through education and leadership.
The Three Doctors Foundation works with various partners including Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation, which uses various leadership programs and activities to encourage kids to “Turn 2” healthy lifestyles as a way of avoiding drugs and alcohol.
“We have these students who are in need of mentoring, whether it’s from their peers or from adults. So we have these Jeter’s Leaders, they come out to our program, they participate in mentoring these young men and young women,” said Davis.
Derek Jeter was a legendary shortstop for the New York Yankees and earned numerous accolades throughout his 20-year career. He actually started the Turn 2 Foundation in 1996 in his first year in major league baseball. “When me and my dad started this thing 23 years ago, having pizza in a hotel room in Detroit, we didn’t know what to expect.”
The Turn 2 Foundation has since awarded more than $27 million for programs that help young people avoid negative influences and overcome obstacles.
The Turn 2 Foundation and these inspiring doctors are certainly making an impact and changing people’s lives.
“Being in the inner city, it’s important to see the diversity in medicine, and in all professions that matter so that the community and the professions represent each other. But being on the front lines and saving lives is really an exciting sort of process to be a part of and to think that I have an opportunity to do it especially where I came from is a blessing,” Davis said.
Watch the video below and be motivated by the Three Doctors:
Quote to Ponder:
"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
— Positive Outlooks (@pos_outlooks) October 19, 2019