Dr. Kanika Bowen-Jallow, a board-certified pediatric surgeon at 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) show the growth of Black or African American applicants, matriculants, and graduates lagged behind other groups as recent as 2019. Thus, Bowen-Jallow’s accomplishment represents a lack of diversity in the medical field.
The native Texan told Good Morning America that medical school was the first time she had encountered Black physicians in any field. As a result of low number of Black doctors in the U.S., many of her young patients are not accustomed to encountering female doctors like Bowen-Jallow.
“I know it’s the first time they’re seeing a Black woman in any specialty,” Bowen-Jallow said to Good Morning America. “I never saw a Black physician as a kid.”
Cook Children’s Checkup Newsroom interviewed Bowen-Jallow for International Women’s Day. Bowen-Jallow’s said her love of the classic board game Operation in childhood sparked a passion that would lead to a career
“I would also play with my doctor kit, and listen to my parents’ heartbeats with the stethoscope and take their temperature with my tiny thermometer,” she said.
Bowen-Jallow earned her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University and her a medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch. Bowen-Jallow learned she was recognized as the ninth Black female pediatric surgeon in the U.S, just one month into her career at Cook Children’s Pediatric Surgery Center.
“When the Benjy Brooks committee informed me I’d be recognized for my contributions, I was on cloud nine,” Bowen-Jallow told Cook Children’s Checkup Newsroom. “When APSA released the recognition to their social media account, it was a wonderful day for everyone to see all of my hard work.”