CARING THROUGH COMMUNITY
Before Tesha Davilmar was born, her mother immigrated to the U.S. to offer her children greater opportunities than they would have had in her native Haiti.
In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, she integrated the family into a strong Haitian community, where Davilmar says she learned the value of a group caring for its individuals, and for itself as a whole.
“Throughout my life, I’ve always felt that community care was very important. It’s honestly how I’ve been able to get this far.”
In college at Florida International University in Miami, she found that public health shares this ethos of community care, prompting her interest in the field. But after volunteering at clinics and shadowing physicians, she decided to focus on clinical medicine. When Davilmar applied to medical schools, she was drawn to Johns Hopkins and Baltimore’s large Black population and the city’s sense of community.
Now a third-year medical student here, she has made time for public health work through a variety of projects. These include leading efforts to collect personal protective equipment and hygiene supplies early in the pandemic to support Baltimore residents experiencing homelessness and working with advocates, such as community activist Donald Gresham, to serve residents negatively affected by the East Baltimore Development, Inc. project, an initiative that has displaced about 700 mostly Black families.
In the MPH program at the Bloomberg School, Davilmar aims to broaden her medical training with the skills she’ll need to create and evaluate interventions and projects with a focus on mental health.
“Even though we’ve made great strides, mental health care is still inaccessible in many communities,” she says.
BS, Psychology, Florida International University, 2017; Medical student, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Degree expected, 2023