Wednesday, January 15, 2020

I wrote a book! Atypical Premed Available Now!!!!

Click the picture to buy now!

I am excited to announce that I finally wrote and published my first book!

I have teased about writing a book over the past few years, but for various reasons I never finished the process. Well, it's a new decade and a great reason to stop procrastinating, so I finally got it done.

Writing this book was certainly not easy! I not only wrote the book, but completely self published meaning I was responsible for making sure every aspect was complete from finding an editor to book cover design to even creating the ebook and finding a distributor (please don't punish me on the ebook formatting...that was the hardest part!). I have developed a new respect for all authors out there, especially ones who self publish. It was a completely new world for me, and I was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I am happy with the final result.

So what is the book about?  

Atypical Premed: A Non-Traditional student's Guide to Applying to Medical School is filled with advice, tips, and my own personal experiences to both guide and encourage students from all backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a medical career. Whether you are overcoming low GPA and/or MCAT scores, a single parent, changing careers, involved in the military, an older (or even younger) student, or involved in anything else that does not fit the typical view of an entering medical student—if you plan on applying to medical school, this book will have something for you.

In full disclosure, I will also say that the majority of my book comes from previous blog posts that have been edited to reflect my current status as a physician. This means you can still find answers to your most frequently asked questions within my blog since I have always been an advocate for affordable and/or free resources for premedical students. I am also open to feedback and suggestions so that I can create updated editions in the future to reflect the needs of current premedical students.

So surreal having a book with my name on it!

Help Atypical Premed reach #1!

Atypical Premed is available now in both paperback and Kindle ebook versions on Amazon, and can be purchased by clicking HERE. The book will also be available through major book retailers such as Barnes & Noble in the coming weeks (or you can request it directly at your local bookstore to get it faster), and I plan on putting out an audiobook version in the coming months.

For those of you who may already be medical students or physicians, my book would make a great gift for your mentees. For the premedical students, my book is an excellent starting point to helping you on the path to becoming a physician, and it was written by someone who has already went through the process (me!). I would be more than honored if you all would buy my book, take pictures of yourselves with the book, and post using the hashtag #AtypicalPremed. I not only want to hear your stories, but I want my book to reach those who may need it the most. I would also love it if those who buy the book would leave me a 5 star review on Amazon so that others may find it too (note: Amazon gives more weight to verified purchases when leaving reviews).

Win a free signed copy of Atypical Premed!

Giveaway Alert!

If you're tight on money, I have great news! I am offering the ebook version of Atypical Premed free for the next 24hours, and will have a few more free promotion days over the next couple of months. The ebook is also free indefinitely for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. As for the paperback version, I am giving away signed copies of my book to five lucky readers. All you have to do is the following:

- Follow me on Instagram
- "Like" the post on Instagram with the above picture of me holding the book
- Tag two friends in the Instagram post with this picture
- Extra points if you comment under this blog post and tell me what makes you an "Atypical Premed"

*Giveaway ends Monday, January 20, 2020 at 12am EST
*Multiple entries allowed with additional tagged friends
*Winner will be randomly selected and announced in both my Instagram comments and story section in addition to receiving a DM

Thank you so much for inspiring me to reach another goal, and I hope you all enjoy my book!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Featured on CBS46 News Atlanta

My first television appearance!

Happy New Year!!!! Last week I was given the opportunity to discuss the recent flu spike and its impact in Georgia on CBS46 News. 

I honestly had no idea I would be doing a news segment when I went to work that morning, and only had a few minutes to prepare for filming which took place in between seeing patients, but I'm always more than happy to educate my community. 

It was definitely a fun experience, and I look forward to doing more in the future. I am including it on the blog so that I have a fun memory to look back on. Plus, who knows? I may even get a chance to become a featured medical correspondent on national news one day ;) 

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Celebrating a Decade of Accomplishments

So much to be thankful and proud of this past decade

I know everyone is currently reflecting over the past year, but can we talk about the past decade?!?! What an incredible ten years it has been! I won't lie and say it has always been happy and full of success, but looking back over the past ten years, I can't help but smile and feel a sense of pride about all that I have been able to accomplish.

Started the decade as a research associate

At the start of 2010, I was a few weeks freshly divorced, a new college graduate, and I had just moved into a new apartment. Since I had to leave my campus and work-study jobs behind after I graduated in December, I remember spending New Year's Day 2010 frantically searching for jobs because I had a child to take care of and I needed money! I was blessed not too long afterwards when I received an interview for a parasitology & immunology research associate position and got the job. This began a very rewarding career in research for four years, and during this time, I helped manage a laboratory, presented research, had my name published in a few papers, and even received a master of science degree in biochemistry. The goal was always to become a physician though, so my career happily ended when I finally received an acceptance and started medical school in 2014.

Became a Student Doctor midway through the decade

This blog started right before I entered medical school, so those of you who have been around from the beginning know what a wild ride it has been! If I have to go back to my first favorite memory of my medical school career, I would have to say it would be the day of my white coat ceremony, but there were so many awesome moments during my time as a medical student. I had the chance to meet and interact with many inspirational and influential people (such as television personalities, former surgeon generals and congressmen), became the first osteopathic medical student to ever serve as national president of the Student National Medical Association, was featured in various newspaper and online articles, and not only got the chance to perform surgery with the first black female transplant surgeon in the United States, but received the amazing blessing of her becoming both my friend and mentor! I ended medical school in 2018 with the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal (the highest honor given to only one medical student each year at my institution), my picture hanging on my medical school's wall, and having achieved my lifelong dream of becoming a physician.

Ending the decade as a physician

The past two years have been mostly a transitioning phase. I made it through a grueling traditional rotating internship year in general surgery working in a program that tested my limits in every way imaginable, but I thrived as chief intern and finished even stronger than when I started. And despite two unsuccessful match cycles, I continued to press on by completing and passing my final medical board licensing exam, obtaining a full unrestricted medical license, and successfully landing a position as an urgent care physician this year. It's been a crazy transition full of opportunities that I never thought possible, and I'm looking forward to what the beginning of the next decade will bring.

A decade full of fun and adventure!

This past decade hasn't just been all work and no play though. I can honestly say I took advantage of living life to the fullest extent as much as possible, and I feel truly blessed for the many experiences this decade has brought me. I traveled to seven countries with a few solo trips that allowed me to meet awesome new individuals while finding myself and immersing into other cultures. I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried things like skydiving, surfing, zip-lining, and even pole dancing. I spent time with my daughter and had many memorable moments with her such as attending her first short film premiere (back when she was into acting), surprising her with a trip to Disney World for her 6th birthday, or even more recently taking her to France for her 13th birthday. I spent time with my family and loved ones whether it was just because, for the holidays, or girls trips with my sisters, and I kept up with blogging for the past six years. This has been quite a fun decade and I'm already excited for the adventures the next one will bring.

Stay tuned for more from Dr. Ward!

So what's next for the upcoming decade? I tend to stay quiet about my plans, but those close to me say I should speak my goals into existence, so here's what I see for the upcoming ten years:

In the first few years of the decade, I will have published my first book, started a business, and finally landed a surgery residency position. By the end of 2029, I see myself ending the year as a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon and being a part of a growing practice. **Ten years gives a lot of time to accomplish this, so don't count me out yet ;)** My daughter will likely have just finished college (Can you believe that?!?!), and I will have finally settled down enough to be a homeowner. Because I love to travel, I already know I will have added at least five new countries to my travel list. I will also be very active in my community, likely through mentorship, but I wouldn't be surprised if I ended the decade in some sort of leadership position. Outside of that, the next ten years will be filled with me working towards my surgery dreams while staying true to myself and loving on those in my inner circle.

I hope those of you reading this had a decade full of accomplishments, and I wish you an upcoming decade filled with hope, love, and new adventures. I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts, and I hope you will stick around with me into the next decade. If I don't make it back to post again tomorrow, I wish you all a safe night and a very happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

It's My Six-Year Blogiversary! (Thank You Gift Inside)

It has been six years since I wrote my very first blog post, and your girl is still going strong! It's been an absolute pleasure sharing my experiences with everyone from way back when I wrote my first post as a pre-medical student (who had just received an acceptance to medical school) to my journey now as a physician. It's amazing how much life has changed for me over the years, and some of you have been reading and following along from the very beginning. Whether I was preparing for medical school, studying for boards, going on rotations, or trying to survive as a new physician, some of you have cheered me on through it all and I truly appreciate you. 

***Update: The balance is now $0...Hope you enjoyed!***

It's the season of giving, and you all are definitely at the top of my Christmas list! Last year, I showed my appreciation by giving everyone free Starbucks, and since that was such a big hit, I decided to do it again this year with a larger amount so that all my readers have the opportunity to take advantage of it. Below, you will find a barcode for a $100 Starbucks gift certificate, and the same rules apply as last year. Use it to buy ONE small cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa (meets the needs of people like me who don't drink coffee). Please be fair and only use it for one cup, that way as many people as possible can benefit. Just tap on the above picture from your phone to enlarge it, and have the barista scan it at checkout. Super simple :)

Again, thank you so much for reading my blog and following along on my journey over the years. It really means a lot to me that people take the time out of their busy schedules to read about my life, and I hope you all will stick around with me for years to come. Wishing everyone a wonderful rest of the week filled with happiness, productivity, and good drinks :)

Sunday, December 15, 2019

2019 Holiday Gift Guide (Plus Giveaway!)

We bought an actual real and alive tree this year!
It's officially 10 days until Christmas, and if you're anything like me, you have yet to get a start on your holiday shopping. No worries! There's still plenty of time to order gifts and have them at your door by December 24th, so I figured I would share a few of my favorite items with you this holiday season here, and you can also check out my Amazon page if you want more ideas outside of this post. I even have a free giveaway for you below!

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reviewing the at-home teeth whitening system by Smile Brilliant (Click here to read full original review), and I absolutely loved how fast it whitened my teeth and brightened my smile. The company has excellent reviews, is unique in that they create custom-fitted trays, and they're a great choice for anyone considering whitening, but unsure if it is a good idea.  I highly recommend Smile Brilliant if you’re looking to brighten your smile, and the company has yet again graciously agreed to giveaway their awesome product (a $149 value) to one of my readers! Just follow the instructions below to enter for your chance to win! Or if you’re impatient like me and want to get started now, go to and enter the coupon code below for 15% off storewide.

15% off coupon code: aspiringminoritydoctor15

·  The giveaway is for a $149 Smile Brilliant credit. It runs until January 7, 2020 at 11:59pm EST and is open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents.
·  Smile Brilliant hosts the giveaway on its own website. It's done through an internal platform so you don't have to worry about third-party websites selling your email addresses.
·  All entrants must enter their email address to be entered!


There's nothing more timeless than a watch, and another awesome product I had the pleasure of reviewing this year was a Jord Wood Watch (Click here to read my original review). Their watches are absolutely gorgeous and would make for a great holiday gift for any student, woman, man, or child in your life. Even more exciting, for those of you who own Apple watches, they now make beautiful Apple Watch Bands to keep you fashionable while wearing your favorite time-telling technology. Not in the market for a watch? Well, they even have sunglasses, so make sure you go and check them out! At the time of this post, they are holding a holiday sale giving away $105 in gift cards with every order bought by December 19th.

For the busy professionals, I highly recommend Laborai: a clothing and jewelry line designed for "desk to dinner" looks. The company is not only woman-owned, but the owner/founder is a great friend of mine who, in addition to running the business, is a very busy family medicine resident in Atlanta. The dresses and jumpsuits are all tasteful, with just enough flair to make any woman feel sexy. There's even great jewelry to match. I'm sure you'll find something on the site to suit your upcoming holiday party needs :)

Next on my list is a shameless plug for my mother's side business Mugs and More by Kathleen. She custom makes beautiful bracelets, necklaces, and earrings all by hand! The items are all absolutely gorgeous and she is able to make your requested jewelry into any design or color you desire. On top of this, she also creates custom mugs (I'm still in love with the coffee mug she designed for me a few years ago!), does T-shirt vinyl designs, and can even personalize Christmas tree balls. How cool is it that our tree is personalized with our family pictures?!?! 

Next on the list is a book that kids, parents, and pre-meds alike will enjoy. My daughter and I recently received How Good Ol' Dr. V Came to Be by Dr. Renee Volny Darko, and we were absolutely in love with the colors and story line of the book. I think it's even more important that it's a book with a minority character that children like my daughter can look up to. My daughter gave me the side-eye at first for giving her a children's book, but by the end of it she was both happy and inspired. I highly recommend for the little future physicians in your life.

If you're looking for other great reads, CLICK HERE for a full list of books on amazon that I highly recommend for pre-medical students, medical students, and physicians alike (I love to read!) 

I recently had the pleasure of joining the Medelita family as a H.I.P. (Honoring Inspiring Professionals) Ambassador, and I am happy to include them in my holiday gift guide. They have a great selection of lab coats and scrubs, and I will be reviewing one of their great products in an upcoming blog post. They even have stethoscopes if you're looking for a gift to give the newly accepted medical student in your life, and right now, you can receive 25% off their entire website by using the code HOLIDAY25.  


That's all for now. If you're interested in other products that I personally love and use, feel free to check out my Amazon page ( where you'll find idea lists for pre-medical students, medical students, and interns, along with other miscellaneous items. I may come back and add more products to this post, but since Christmas is literally a little over a week away, I figured I would make sure you could be a little prepared :) Are there any great holiday gift ideas that I missed? Feel free to comment with your holiday faves below!

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