WAAY 31 is a proud sponsor of the Women Honoring Women event. WAAY 31 anchor Najahe Sherman sat down with one of the five honorees, Dr. Belinda Savage-Edwards.
Dr. Savage-Edwards is a neurology specialist in Huntsville. She is using her life experience and more than 20 years in practice to help other women pursue their dreams of a career in the medical field.
As a neurologist, Dr. Belinda Savage-Edwards gives people who suffer from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis hope. She also specializes in helping people heal from a number of different neurological conditions.
"Me, as a neurologist, I have to sit down and I always tell the patients, 'You have the answers.' It's like a puzzle and we have to put the pieces of the puzzle together to come up with a diagnoses. Then, we can come up with a treatment plan. That's rewarding for me," she said.
Dr. Savage-Edwards runs the Rehabilitation and Neurological Services center in Huntsville with her husband. They've been in practice together for more than two decades. However, her journey to where she is today wasn't easy. She said watching her mother's perseverance in the face of adversity as a child gave her the willpower to never give up.
"That just wasn't my world, you know? I grew up and my mother was single, but what I saw...She was my mentor personally, because what I saw was her determination. She got up everyday. She went to work. She made sure we were in school. I'm the oldest of three, and she made sure that "no" was not in our vocabulary. She didn't have a college education, but she wanted to make sure that we did and knew the value of a college education," she said.
Dr. Savage-Edwards said even in the hardest of times and at a very young age, she knew she wanted to practice medicine.
"Probably around the age of nine. One of my cousins were submitted to Children's Hospital in Detroit and the pediatricians were so nice, and I just thought, 'Wow. I think that's what I want to be.' That was at the age of nine. There was nothing else that I wanted to do, so it was one of those. I had the end in mind. I didn't know what the journey would be, but I knew the destination. I was determined I was going to be a doctor," she said.
Dr. Savage-Edwards said as she worked to get her doctoral degree, she noticed a lack of female mentors in her field.
"But nothing in life is easy. I always say, 'Anything worth having is worth working for.' So, it wasn't easy because I didn't have those mentors or someone that I knew personally who was a doctor and who I could tell to take this path, don't take this path, to do this or to do that...So, I had to do the trial and error thing, which I'm happy now because it made me a stronger person," she said.
Dr. Savage-Edwards dedicates a lot of time to making sure other young women in the community have someone to mentor them in the medical field.
"It's rewarding for me, especially when I see them successful. One student in particular who shadowed me, she not only shadowed me in my practice...She ended up doing her residency in Detroit, Michigan, which is the same place that I did my residency. She came back and she's practicing here in Huntsville. I'm just overjoyed with that. It makes me feel good. Several of the students who I mentored, at least four or five of them, come to mind and they're in medical school. That is rewarding," she said.
She offers this advice to anyone with big dreams.
"It's possible that if you have a dream, then go for it. Don't let anything stop you. It is not going to be easy. Imagine you where you want to be and what it's going to take to get there. But, I definitely would say and what I would say to my younger self is, 'Take some time to smell the roses.' Enjoy every moment you are in because I was always...that person who couldn't wait to get to the next step," Dr. Savage-Edwards said. "It's always the next step and not enjoying the place that I was at that point. So, now I will tell that person that, 'It's going to come. Don't worry about the student loans. You'll have the means to pay it back...Just do what you need to do to make your dreams come true, because at the end of the day, 8 to 10 years, if we're fortunate, we'll be there.'"
We thank Dr. Belinda Savage-Edwards for her life-changing contribution to help people in the community and for her investment in the future of others.
WAAY 31 is a proud sponsor of the WEDC Foundation and the Women Honoring Women event. It's Thursday, September 19th at the Von Braun Center at 5:30 p.m.
WAAY 31 anchor Najahe Sherman will be the evening emcee. Money raised from the event will go to scholarships and educational workshops for college women.
For more information about the organization, click here.