Large Abroad | Vincent Reid: Brandon Hill resident-turned-surgical oncologist
Brandon Hill, a rural district located in St Andrew, is the former home of Jamaican surgical oncologist, Dr Vincent J. Reid.
Reid currently serves as the director of surgical oncology (cancer surgery) at the Mercy Medical Centre in Baltimore, Maryland.
"I was raised for the most part by a single mother who was young (age 14) when I was born," he told The Gleaner.
Reid, determined not to be "defined by his beginnings" but by his objectives, remained focused, not falling victim to the pressures of his surroundings.
He commends the individuals with whom he surrounded himself for keeping his mind on track.
"I have always had good mentors in my life. My strongest influences included Mr Davis (chemistry teacher at Oberlin), Mrs Reid (geography teacher at Oberlin), and my grandmother," he said.
Reid's interest in medicine developed during hangout sessions with his grandmother while she was employed as a janitor at Kingston Public Hospital.
After completing his O and A levels at Oberlin High and Wolmer's Boys' schools, respectively, Reid turned his attention to the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
Medical education expensive
Facing high tuition fees, he had to depend on part scholarships and student loans.
"Medical education in the United States is expensive. I am fortunate to have been in positions of part scholarships and have been able to have the appropriate jobs, post training, that put me in a position to repay my loans," Reid told The Gleaner.
After achieving his doctorate from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Reid moved on to complete his residency and fellowship at the Maimonidess Medical Center and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, specialising in head and neck oncology (cancer tumours), before becoming a member of staff at the Mercy Medical Center in 2012.
Reid has been involved in "many clinical retrospective projects", bench research and has remained involved with his undergraduate research in thymic nurse cells and their potential implications for cancer treatment.
When asked about treating cancer successfully, Reid said surveillance and prevention are the most important approaches.
"With regards to prevention, smoking cessation is probably at the top of my list. Surveillance, with regards to colonoscopy (colon cancer screening), mammograms (breast cancer screening) and prostate exams (prostate cancer screening) will significantly decrease the burden of those particular malignancies, especially with regards to individuals of African-American descent," he said.
Reid is a "determined" individual, forcefully carving out a life in medicine. What has kept his spirit burning is his belief in self.
Outside the world of medicine, he is an avid lover of the outdoors who enjoys kayaking and biking.
He is also a fan of reggae and jazz music.
Reid believes determination is the key to success and, therefore, advises future medical students to be "passionate and persistent".
- Romaine Newell