Mildred Olivier, MD
Dr. Olivier (Photo courtesy of Mildred Olivier, MD) met Dr. Higginbotham at the University of Illinois, where Dr. Higginbotham became a mentor to her.
“I ended up specializing in glaucoma because of her,” Dr. Olivier said. “People need all kinds of mentors, but sometimes [understanding] the struggles of a person of the same culture can really help.”
Dr. Olivier explained that for many young African American students, their peers generally discourage the idea of going into medicine. She said by giving these students mentors, “it becomes a different world. What you get is, ‘You can do this!’”
Dr. Olivier has spent several years studying the underrepresentation of certain ethnic groups in medicine and creating a taskforce to best provide mentors to the following generation of ophthalmologists.
“I think it’s about exposure,” she said. “Getting them from the classroom to the profession is very challenging.”
Dr. Olivier is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Board of Trustees
She is now professor of surgery and assistant dean for Diversity and Learning Environment at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science at Midwestern University. She is also CEO and founder of Midwest Glaucoma Center, Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
She also has received multiple awards for her international work in Haiti. She also co-authored the book Maintaining the Target Intraocular Pressure.
She said organizations like the Roman-Barnes Society bring in people who can give exciting talks highlighting the work of African American pioneers in different fields.