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Committed to the Community
Todra Anderson leads Ob/Gyn outreach activities

Todra Anderson, M.D., serves as obstetrics and gynecology director of community outreach.

As a young girl growing up in Opa Locka, Florida, Todra Anderson, M.D., waited long hours to see a doctor at a community clinic. “My grandmother would take me and my twin sister dressed in our Sunday best,” says Anderson. “We would wait forever just for the chance to see the doctor for a gloss-over.”

Memories such as these fuel her desire to provide quality care to the underserved. Anderson, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, came to the Miller School in 2005. Prior to that she spent eight years in private practice but longed to work with the community on a more meaningful, grassroots level, as she had done during her residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, following her graduation from Penn’s medical school. There she spearheaded a program in which medical residents volunteered at high schools throughout Philadelphia, educating students on sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. When Leo B. Twiggs, M.D., professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology, expressed interest in having the department become more involved in the community, Anderson proposed an additional role for herself—director of community outreach.

The new title, however, belies much of the outreach work Anderson was already doing, even while seeing patients and teaching residents.

Since February 2008 she has led a team of UM and Jackson staff and community partners that provides underserved communities with increased access to medical care. At least once a month, the team participates in health fairs that offer blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose screenings, education on sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing, mammograms, and other services.

Part of Anderson’s mission is to set a path for other women interested in the field of health care. She also is a volunteer with Women of Tomorrow, an organization that pairs teen girls in the South Florida public school system with professional women who serve as mentors.

Anderson, who is married and has a 9-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl, is also actively involved with her church—and her faith has significantly shaped her professional perspective.

“I believe firmly that to whom much is given, much is expected,” says Anderson. “When I was young I didn’t understand as much, but now my perspective is different. I’m a Christian doctor and that means I have a lot of responsibility.”