Doctor Takes Passion for Public Health to Ghana

For 10 days later this month, Dr. Tomekia Strickland will practice medicine in a place where there are often no doctors within a 20-mile radius, where families subsist on less than $2 a day and where typical families use less than three gallons of water a day.

Dr. Strickland will head to Ghana, the current focus of Global Brigades, which establishes mobile health clinics in under-resourced communities.

An obstetrician who practices at Tucson Medical Center, Dr. Strickland has long been interested in public health. She spent time in South Africa at a prenatal clinic for HIV positive women and spent four years living and working on the Navajo Nation in Chinle as an OBGYN with the Indian Health Service.

Strickland said she’s been eager to get back into global women’s health, struck by the wealth of resources largely available in the United States and the preventable maternal and child deaths happening elsewhere across the globe. “The statistics show that every minute, at least one woman dies from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth – that means 529,000 women a year,” she said. “It’s a disheartening and unnecessary statistic, largely linked to a lack of simple resources, facilities and healthcare providers.”

During the experience, she will deliver direct care to women, primarily cervical cancer screening and prenatal care, while also serving as a mentor to college students interested in international health.

Dr. Strickland said she’ll have some grounding for her work in Ghana, given her past experience with rural medicine with the Indian Health Service. Barriers to healthcare were multifaceted, including issues of cultural differences and trust. Some families struggled to have access to resources we often take for granted, such as paved roads, transportation, running water and electricity.

Dr. Strickland believes every person’s effort makes a difference. “You can’t give up,” she said. She also has channeled her interest in global action to social media, where she tweets about women’s health and has been published in the Huffington Post.

Her work at TMC also has helped inspire her desire to act globally, as well, since she draws encouragement and support from the large number of physicians and nurses who are active in international health work.

“It’s great to have a career that lends itself seamlessly to opportunities to be more involved within a larger sphere of humanity,” said Dr. Strickland, who was recently named the Outstanding Young Alumna by her college, Agnes Scott, one of the top women’s liberal arts colleges in the country.

“Here at TMC, I connect with countless women who not only love their birth experience, but feel secure within an environment with resources to address potential problems or complications. It’s a shared collective desire and a basic right that all women everywhere should have access to a safe and memorable pregnancy and birth.”

Stay posted. She promises to share more about the experience, including pictures, upon her return.


  1. […] later this month to practice medicine for 10 days. Read more about Dr. Strickland’s journey here on TMC Medical Center’s News blog. Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first […]

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