When you’re little, meeting a doctor for the first time can be scary. Doctors wear white coats, use funny-looking tools and always ask a lot of questions. As part of an ongoing series, we’re interviewing our new doctors to help patient families find common ground so they see our doctors as not only clinically astute, but also full of personality that makes them uniquely Children’s.
For our first profile, we talked with our newest hospitalist and global health doctor Brittany Potts. Although she can be found helping patients here in Akron, her passion for helping children goes far beyond Ohio.
What was your favorite childhood toy?
I don’t remember one specific toy. I just remember playing outside all the time with my brother.
Name one thing you miss about being a kid:
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a veterinarian until my dad told me I would have to put dogs to sleep. The idea of that terrified me so I said, “Fine. I’ll be a people doctor then.” And here I am.
When I’m in Haiti, I miss sushi. When I’m in the U.S. I miss Haitian food, especially pumpkin soup.
I listen to everything – Haitian and Italian music, rap, hip hop, country, you name it. The music I listen to changes with my mood.
I really can’t remember my first one, but my most fun concert was in Haiti when I saw J. Beatz. He played for 4 hours!
First paying job:
I babysat a lot growing up but my first paycheck was from a road crew company that I worked for throughout college. I was the ‘stop/slow’ sign holder. I learned quickly that prevailing wage is an awesome thing.
Quote to live by:
I’m not sure who first coined the phrase, but I live by it and I think it really speaks to Akron Children’s Hospital’s culture, too. “If not us, who? If not now, when?” (It was John F. Kennedy). For me, the mantra gets me through moments when I’m lacking motivation. It pushes me through.
Who do you most admire and why?
There are about 100 people I could list so I wouldn’t say it’s just one person. It’s really a characteristic in people I admire. I admire people who are selfless – those who take a step back and help others first. I like to surround myself with those types of people and try to emulate that quality.
What couldn’t you live without?
With my job and volunteerism in Haiti, I’ve learned there really isn’t much you can’t live without. But, if I had to pick one thing, it would be human interaction. I couldn’t live without it because it rejuvenates me. Traveling can be isolating if you don’t have the support of others. The Internet can help, too, but it’s not the same.
I’m fluent in Haitian or the native Kreyol language. I learned it while I was working in Haiti. Not knowing the native language and being surrounded by people who don’t know English is a pretty good motivator to learn a new language.
In 2008 I took my first global health trip to Kenya which sparked my interest in global health. Later I found Haiti, which has stolen my heart.
I did a fellowship for 2 years at Boston Children’s during which I lived in Haiti 6 months of the year and traveled back and forth. There’s a huge demand for clinical help to care for the 1.2 million people who live in the catchment area of the hospital where I was working.
There’s so much work to be done – education, prevention, medical supply logistics, the list goes on. Some people can get overwhelmed by the challenge, but not me. I’m happy in knowing I’m making a difference.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s?
I grew up in Coshocton, went to NEOUCOM and did my residency at Children’s so I’ve always known about the great things that happen here. But, without a doubt, it’s the culture at Children’s that brought me back and makes me want to be a part of it. You can’t walk down the hall without someone smiling at you. People take that for granted but, I assure you, not all hospitals are like this.