A ĎPeople Doctor'

Dr. Pottsí passion for helping children goes far beyond Ohio.
February 8, 2016 - Haiti

Brittany in Haiti
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When youíre 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, weíre 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 relatable.

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 donít remember one specific toy. I just remember playing outside all the time with my brother.

Name one thing you miss about being a kid: TimeÖand freedom.

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, ďFine. Iíll be a people doctor then.Ē And now here I am.

Favorite food: When Iím in Haiti I miss sushi. When Iím in the U.S. I miss Haitian food, and especially the pumpkin soup.

Favorite music: I listen to everything Ė Haitian and Italian music, rap, hip hop, country, you name it. The music I listen to changes with my mood.

First concert: I really canít remember my first one, but my most fun concert was in Haiti when I saw J. Beatz. He played for four 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 Ďstop/slowí sign holder. I learned quickly that prevailing wage is an awesome thing.

Quote to live by: Iím not sure who first coined the phrase, but I live by it and I think it really speaks to Akron Childrenís Hospitalís culture, too. ďIf not us, who? If not now, when?Ē (It was John F. Kennedy). For me, the mantra gets me through moments when Iím lacking motivation. It pushes me through.

Who do you most admire and why? There are about 100 people I could list so I wouldnít say itís just one person. Itís really a characteristic in people I admire. I admire people who are selfless Ė 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 couldnít you live without? With my job and volunteerism in Haiti, Iíve learned there really isnít much you canít live without. If I had to pick one thing it would be human interaction. I couldnít live without it because it rejuvenates me. Traveling can be isolating if you donít have the support of others. The Internet can help, too, but itís not the same.

Hidden talent: Iím fluent in Haitian Kreyol. I learned it while I was working in Haiti. Not knowing the native language and being surrounded by people who donít know English is a pretty good motivator to learn a new language.

Special interest: 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 two years at Boston Childrenís during which I lived in Haiti for six months of the year and traveled back and forth. Thereís 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. Thereís so much work to be done Ė education, prevention, medical supply logistics, the list goes on. Some people can get overwhelmed by the challenge, but not me. Iím happy in knowing Iím making a difference.

Why did you choose to work to Akron Childrenís? I grew up in Coshocton, went to NEOUCOM and did my residency at Childrenís so Iíve always known about the great things that happen here. But, without a doubt, itís the culture at Childrenís that brought me back and makes me want to be a part of it. You canít walk down the hall without someone smiling at you. People take that for granted but, I assure you, not all hospitals are like this.

Brittany Potts   
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