Celebrating our Heritage and Strengths as a Community
by Patricia O’Flynn Pattillo
Doctor Enid Trotman Anyanwu dreamed of becoming a doctor; of course, many children do! Yet transforming her dream, into a reality, has been more than wishing upon a star! Actualizing this early decision is a journey that continues to evolve as she now celebrates 26 years in the field of medicine.
“I was only three-years-old, but I knew I wanted to go into medicine. I loved and respected the art of healing. Since that age I have been studying and growing in medicine. We take courses, continuously, to retain our licenses. And, you want to know the new medicines, new techniques, the things that improve your ability to treat your patients,” she shared.
Inspired by her own childhood doctors, Dr. Trotman explained. “They were so compassionate! Dr. Fardard, a black female was one of my doctors and I had Dr. Drew, an amazing white male. They made indelible impressions with their compassion and sensitivity to their young patients. For this reason, I spend a lot of time with children, especially those who express interest in medicine. Little girls, only four- and five-years-old, will say, “Dr. Trotman I want to be a doctor” when I ask them what they want to become. I take them seriously because I knew at that age and they know, as well. I believe they will become great doctors.”
Caring for and treating patients is clearly an art. The science and skills are major parts of the healing process but of equal importance is the respect and deep appreciation of the patient as an individual, one worthy of all of the social, emotional and personal skills that the doctor should carry in their medical bag. Dr. Trotman ministers to her patients the way she would want others to treat her own family. “My philosophy is to treat my patients like they are family.”
Dr. Trotman Anyanwu’s practice continues to grow. An Internal Medicine specialist, her referrals from satisfied patients continue to swell her client-base and add more hours to her already busy day. Her bedside manner and in-depth consultations have her patients lauding her attentiveness and many community thoughts leaders proudly call her, “my doctor”.
Dr. Trotman is a third generation graduate from historically black colleges or universities. Her grand father was a graduate of Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, the home of the renowned George Washington Carver. He was her Mother’s, Cherrye Trotman’s father, a rarity in that era, and her Mother, Lura Ballard, graduated from Alabama State University.
Mom, Cherrye, followed her Mother and graduated from Alabama State University. Then Dr. Enid attended and graduated from Spelman College. The legacy of attending HBCU’s continued on May 16, 2010, with the graduation of she and her husband’s, Lewis Anyanwu’s, daughter, Lura, from Spelman College in Economics and Policy Development. The family was jubilant about the extension of this family tradition. And, next year, they will graduate their daughter Leah from Fisk University, in Pre-Med, following in the footsteps of her Mom.
Like the traditions of New Orleans that promote familial legacies, the Trotman-Anyanwu family gets stronger, augmenting their ability to make a difference in their communities.
Their associations in educational, medical, business, civic and social organizations read like lists out of “Who’ Who in America” and their accomplishments distinguish them in each of the cities where they reside.
Milwaukee is the beneficiary of three of those generations as a result of Cherrye who came to Milwaukee as an education innovator. The students from her classes continue to build Milwaukee in various job portfolios and social service affiliations.
Healthcare has changed dramatically since Dr. Trotman began to practice and the new health-reform laws will bring additional changes that have yet to be determined. But, Dr. Trotman strongly supported the initiative. “While we are living longer, regrettably many health disparities still affect African Americans more than other ethnic groups.
“Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, strokes and hypertension, plus smoking related illnesses still impact quality of life and continue to contribute to reduced longevity figures in the African American community.
“And of course, the issues of poverty, plus cultural disparities, continue to take many of youth, long before their natural lives would have. These statistics still matter to me.”
Continuing the discussion about change, Dr. Trotman mentioned education about finances, retirement, and long-range planning as a major initiative that must begin within the community. She recommends workshops and seminars for early planning for all professionals and people in general.
“The number of people who are affected by financial issues would astound the average citizen. I believe that disease is dis-ease and the affects of stress, long-term pressure and so many of the struggles associated with the African American experience continue to play out in many of our illnesses.
So, if we cannot remove all of the issues, we must learn to change our reactions to these generational maladies. We must learn behavioral modification and learn to put every issue in perspective, rather than permitting the issue to rule us.
Admittedly, this is not an easy process but we must see our own ability to change our futures. Many actions are within our power. We must examine how we can act upon a situation instead of permitting the situation to act upon us.”
Sage advice from this seasoned professional whose medical prescription is always more than a trip to the pharmacy or the issuance of a bottle of pills. Dr. Trotman exercises the Hippocratic Oath with the sincerity that she repeated when she became a doctor, her continuous focus is to heal!
In her spare time, she helps her husband in his business, giving her opinions and support. And, she reads, feverishly, as she has done all her life. She loves travel especially to other cultures. Her favorite book remains, “The Mis-Education of the Negro”, by Carter G. Woodson and “Among the Ebu’s” about the Ebu culture in Nigeria.
Her husband is Nigerian and her father Panamanian. She has lived or vacationed in Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Spain, Holland, India, South America, the Caribbean, Alaska and Hawaii.
These multicultural experiences have served her well in all arenas of her life.
Born in Milwaukee and committed to Milwaukee even as she recognizes the employment slumps, Dr. Trotman encourages young people to be prepared, get their educations and develop themselves, with confidence, for the future they will inherit.
“Life goes on and as much as the world changes, it also remains the same.
“There will always be a need for good doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, people in the arts, social workers and skilled workers to service all of the things we need and use.
“Milwaukee, like many communities, has been economically depressed but the economy is improving ever slowly and the cycles of the past cannot exempt us from getting what we need to succeed, even if that requires getting it elsewhere.”
On the issue of race and succeeding in an environment that has required hard work, strong credentials and often more patients in order to succeed, Dr. Trotman shared, “Yes, there have been different requirements for people of color.
“But I think it will change with the next generation. The way the children are so accepting of people of color is an indication that a lot of things have changed. This is amazing!
“Yet, I say to our children and all young people, get everything you need, always be prepared. Do not let an injustice whether real or perceived destroy your dreams. Your dreams belong to you and you are the only one who can reach them.”
Dr. Enid Trotman Anyanwu is the epitome of the 21st century’s finest. Enthusiastic, eager to learn, emblazoned with the tenets of her medical school graduation and realistic about how she must perform the oath today.
She excels and models excellence to her family, her Spelman sisters, her sorority sisters, her patients and her colleagues in the medical community. Dr. Trotman is a Second Line legend embodied in a fourth generation success story!