Texan Becomes 9th Black Female Pediatric Surgeon in the U.S.

Dr. Kanika Bowen-Jallow, a board-certified pediatric surgeon at the Cook Children’s Pediatric Surgery Center in Prosper, TX, is now the ninth black female pediatric surgeon in the United States, according to the American Pediatric Surgical Association.

Data from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) shows that the growth of black or African American candidates, matriculants, and graduates lagged other groups as recently as 2019. Bowen-Jallow’s achievement thus represents a lack of diversity in the medical field.

(Image: Facebook Kanika Bowen-Jallow)

The Texan native told Good Morning America that medical school was the first time she had met black doctors in a particular area. Due to the low number of black doctors in the US, many of her young patients are not used to meeting female doctors like Bowen-Jallow.

“I know it’s the first time they’ve seen a black woman in a specialty,” Bowen-Jallow told Good Morning America. “I never saw a black doctor as a child.”

Cook Children’s Checkup Newsroom interviewed Bowen-Jallow for International Women’s Day. Bowen-Jallow’s said her childhood love for the classic board game Operation sparked a passion that would lead to a career.

“I also played with my doctor’s kit, listened to my parents’ heartbeat with the stethoscope and took their temperature with my little thermometer,” she said.

Bowen-Jallow received her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University and her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch. Bowen-Jallow learned she was recognized as the ninth black female pediatric surgeon in the US, just a month after her career at the Cook Children’s Pediatric Surgery Center.

“When Benjy Brooks’ committee told me I would be recognized for my contributions, I was over the moon,” Bowen-Jallow told Cook Children’s Checkup Newsroom. “When APSA posted the recognition on their social media account, it was a great day for everyone to see all of my hard work.”

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