Becoming a doctor is not an easy task and is not necessarily the same for everyone.

Dr Tonia Farmer, an ear, nose and throat surgeon at Lippy Group in Warren, knew she wanted to be a doctor at the age of 7 when her twin sister Sonia died of bone cancer.

Dr. Farmer tells 21 News that she faced many obstacles in pursuing her career, more because she is black than because she is a woman.

“Addressing the challenge of patients telling me I don’t want to see you because you’re black, or being called racial names, or being told my hairstyle wasn’t professional enough to be a doctor” , said Dr. Farmer.

“There are so many different obstacles that we can encounter that might say you know what to forget, but I knew what I wanted to do,” she said.

Our very own infectious disease physician, Dr. Dee Banks, was one of three black women in a class of 110, jumping over obstacles as if to outrank her male counterparts.

“We had to take a lot from our male colleagues,” Dr Banks said. “But I always swore that when I got into a leadership position I would speak for myself and I think anyone who knows me knows I do that,” she said.

“I remember walking into a room it was an elderly white woman and her son and I was talking to them and the son wasn’t addressing me at all. He was only addressing my young resident white male,” Dr. Farmer said, addressing some of the racism she faces on the pitch.

“No matter what your status or how high you get, I still walk with black skin every day and that’s how I’m judged,” she said.

Even through all the odds, the two women persevered and broke down barriers to become our valley’s successful doctors today.

“Being here at the Lippy Group, I’ve been here for 20 years in this practice and now I co-own this practice with my partner and co-own our surgery center and it’s different when you’re in charge,” said the Dr. says the farmer.

“I want little girls, little black and brown girls to look up to me and know that you can be anything you want to be,” Dr. Banks said.

Banks also says there needs to be more black doctors in America, and they need to start the pipeline to medical school early, like kindergarten, instead of a pipeline to prison.