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Nighttime view of Temple University Children's Medical Center Temple University Hospital in background, Kresge Hall (left) and Medical Research Building (right) in foreground Old Medical School building in foreground, Jones Hall, General Services building and Student Faculty Center to the right

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DETERMINATION IS AT THE CORE OF NEW MD'S PHILADELPHIA STORY

May 13, 2010

CONTACT:  Vaughn Shinkus, vshinkus@temple.edu

215-204-1889

 

Porshia Tomlin, MD. Photo by Joseph V. Labolito, Temple University

Porshia Tomlin, MD. Photo by Joseph V. Labolito, Temple University

 

You need only see Porshia Tomlin’s Twitter username to understand her destiny: “CallMeDrPorshia.”


But although the cyber handle speaks volumes about what’s next for Tomlin after she receives her doctor of medicine degree this week, it says little about the remarkable journey that has brought her to this milestone moment.


A native of West Philadelphia, Tomlin is a true Philadelphia success story. She grew up jumping rope on city sidewalks and earned her high school diploma from a small magnet school in Northern Liberties. It was here she discovered her fervor for dance, and where she would later decide she would become the first doctor in her family. But she would first leave the city she loves for undergraduate study at Washington D.C.’s Howard University.


“I wanted to get away and experience something new,” she said. “But I always knew I wanted to come back to Philly. My family is here,” she said.


So when it came time to pursue medical school in 2006, Tomlin interviewed only at Temple. She made an immediate impression.


“I had the pleasure of meeting with and interviewing Porshia the day of her official interview,” said Martin Whitaker, Jr., a counselor in the School of Medicine’s Recruitment, Admissions and Retention Program (RAR).  “What made her stand out from the crowd was her genuine enthusiasm and commitment to pursue a medical education so she could provide health care to the underserved and give back to her community.”


Tomlin has made good on that commitment in nearly every aspect of her life. She has completed the AIDS walk, pitched in at a local nursing home and volunteered at the Temple Cares student-run medical clinic.


“Every Tuesday evening first- and second-year medical students work closely with and interact with third- and fourth-year students, as well as attending physicians, to learn the fundamentals of medical care while helping the community,” she said. “That was a phenomenal experience.”


Yet somehow, in the midst of all her many activities, Tomlin has managed to remain true to her first love.


“My passion is dance,” she said. “I’ve been dancing since a young age in neighborhood dance companies, high school and college dance ensembles, and I currently study hip hop downtown at the Koresh Dance School.”


Now, Tomlin will take the next step in her Philadelphia journey as she begins her residency in emergency medicine at Temple University Hospital. She says she is energized by the pace inherent to an urban trauma center.


“I thrive in the fast-paced environment and enjoy that it incorporates all aspects of medicine,” she said, adding that she doesn’t like having too much idle time on her hands. “Each shift is different and you’re always moving.”


That drive to never stop has been part of Tomlin’s character from her earliest days in Philadelphia. And now, perhaps, her story can be an inspiration to those who might follow in her footsteps.


“As a native Philadelphian and a product of the public school system, Porshia stands as a role model for young girls, especially African Americans, who are growing up in the inner city,” said Whitaker. “She is a shining example that through perseverance and hard work, your dreams can become a reality.”

 

-- Jennifer Leckstrom