Written by: Dreaming the Dream

K.I.S.H. Magazine Exclusive Interview with Trailblazer; Dorsha Nicole James!

 
KISH:  Tell us about you.
 
Dorsha Nicole James: For over 15 years, Dr. Dorsha James, MD, worked as an attending physician in some of the busiest emergency rooms in and around the Nashville Metropolitan area with supervisory positions as the Emergency Department Assistant Medical Director and Medical Director. Each day brought new challenges and opportunities to provide expert care and exercise compassion toward ailing individuals seeking answers and treatment.  While there, Dr. Dorsha noticed the excessive use of emergency rooms for non-emergency conditions. This was not only tying up vital ER personnel and resources but was often very costly to patients who did not have health insurance and/or a primary care physician.
 
 
In 2018, Dr. Dorsha founded the telemedicine company myURGENCYMD to provide an affordable alternative to this ever-growing problem. myURGENCYMD offers its members virtual medical consultations by video chat with 24/7 access to licensed physicians and master level mental health therapists and other time and cost-saving benefits such as patient advocacy. Consults are often for common illnesses such as cold and flu symptoms, sinus problems, respiratory infections, allergies, some STDs, urinary tract infections, and many other non-emergency illnesses. Telemedicine has also become extremely helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic as people are encouraged to limit their public activities to lessen their chances of contracting the coronavirus.
 
A native of Pontiac, Michigan, Dr. Dorsha obtained her undergraduate degree in biology from The University of Memphis and then attended medical school at James H. Quillen College of Medicine, at East Tennessee State University, where she graduated magna cum laude. In 2005, Dr. Dorsha became the first African American female accepted into the competitive Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In addition to Nashville, her career has taken her to very diverse areas that included rural areas of Tennessee and Kentucky. She prides herself on being able to explain complex conditions in a simple, easy-to-understand manner to patients with various socio-economic, cultural and educational backgrounds.

KISH: What is your dream and how will accomplishing your dream benefit you and others?

Dorsha Nicole James: I would like for vulnerable communities to have access to quality, inexpensive, and convenient health care.  I believe that by providing access to board certified physicians these populations can not only receive a diagnosis and treatment of their minor illnesses but they will also be able to be educated about their conditions by being able to ask questions, upload labs, and have x-rays reviewed.  However, education does not stop with medical care.  I am also passionate about educating people and helping them navigate the complex healthcare system.  Oftentimes, we are being taken advantage of financially even when we have insurance because we just don’t know any better.  I strongly feel that if we educate the population on what assistance is available to them and how they can receive healthcare at an affordable price that the healthcare system in general will improve.

KISH: Who or what inspired you to pursue this dream?

Dorsha Nicole James: I was initially inspired by taking care of my grandmother.  I knew that I wanted to be a doctor, so I was very interested in taking her to appointments, managing her medications, and learning what I could about her conditions.  I became more passionate in my years as an emergency physician for 15 years as I saw people utilizing the Emergency Department for urgencies instead of emergencies.  Most often, they didn’t have a choice. I routinely saw individuals who did not have insurance, they didn’t have a primary care physician or they couldn’t afford to pay for an urgent care clinic that wanted their money in advance.  Some couldn’t get off work and just needed a doctor’s note.  Knowing that the cost associated with coming to the ER for a non-emergency condition is astronomical, I wondered what, if anything, I could do to help.  Early in 2015, I discovered telemedicine and it changed my concept of healthcare delivery.  I have been working non-stop since then educating myself and patients about the convenience, affordability, efficiency, and time-saving benefits of utilizing this technology.

KISH: What challenges have you encountered while pursuing your dream?

Dorsha Nicole James: There have been a few challenges I have encountered since I started this voyage.  First, the sheer expense of starting a company like this is very intimidating and can be a hindrance.  I initially partnered with a different company and had business partners whose passion didn’t match mine when it came to why I wanted to have a telemedicine company.  I had never started a business with anyone before and it was challenging to meld our three personalities together at times.

Another challenge is that the telemedicine field is chock-full of other companies that have been out there for a while with way more money backing them.  I sometimes feel like a small fish in a very big pond.  I also don’t know of another African American female company that offers what my company offers.

KISH: Who or what inspired you to keep pushing regardless of the challenges you’ve encountered?

Dorsha Nicole James: I have to say my wife has been integral in keeping me motivated and giving me sound advice and support.  She has never told me that I couldn’t do anything as it related to the company and as a co-founder she lends her skills and expertise to helping me realize my dream.

KISH: Please provide final thoughts/advice for others by finishing this sentence… dream.

Dorsha Nicole James: I decided one day that I wanted to be a doctor.  Me, the daughter of a mother receiving public assistance with a father who was incarcerated.  Me, a black teenager who had never even talked to or met a doctor.  It was my dream, but I had no clue how to achieve it.  I decided my freshman year of college that this dream would be realized by any means necessary.  That day, I set small goals so that when I met them I felt like I had achieved something.  I progressively set my aspirations higher and higher which led to greater accomplishments.  If I had to give someone advice about pursuing a dream, I would say FOCUS.  In order to attain it, you have to be able to see it.  If the way is not clear, you won’t be able to realize it.  Stick to it and FOCUS.

Contact Info

People can follow myURGENCYMD on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and they can keep up with Dr. Dorsha and learn about import health topics on her blog at www.drdorsha.com.

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Last modified: February 2, 2021