From Loss to Triumph
Confused and grief stricken after losing her infant brother to Down syndrome, 13-year-old Tosha Rogers made a vow. “I decided I didn’t ever want to feel this way again, not knowing, not understanding,” recalls Rogers. “I didn’t want anyone else to feel this way either.”
The determined vow sustained Rogers as she grew from a heartbroken girl in Philadelphia into a renowned OB/GYN in South Atlanta. Recognized for her plain speaking, keeping-it-real style, Dr. Rogers has made her mark in television, radio and print media. She has been a frequent guest on the Kandi Koated Nights show (hosted by Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss), and been featured in numerous magazines including Essence, Ebony, and Self.
Regardless of the forum, Rogers’ goal is the same. She strives to empower patients with the understanding to make confident decisions about medical care.
Referring to the three-month period her brother was hospitalized before passing away, Rogers says, “I realized then that lack of understanding could drive disparities in medicine. My family could only make the decisions we made (for my brother) based on what we understood, and how things were explained.”
Empowering and Advocating
“With gynecology, it’s not just physical. Most of the problems that have caused you to come in occurred because of your sexual partner,” explains Rogers. To help patients feel comfortable opening up about their issues, Rogers says she encourages them to “ask me whatever, tell me whatever.”
“I do spend a lot of time with my patients upfront,” says Rogers. In fact, it is not uncommon for first-time patients to get up to an hour of the doctor’s time at her private practice, Atlanta Premier OB/GYN.
Rogers’ light-hearted demeanor and judgment-free attitude help her earn patient trust. She emphasizes that she is willing to speak in any style to make sure patients feel informed and empowered regarding their sexual health.
Beyond serving her patients locally, Rogers is fueled by a sense of urgency surrounding the high risks black women face with certain sexually transmitted diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 48% of black women test positive for Herpes (versus 16% of the general U.S. population). Nationally, African Americans account for a staggering 62% of new HIV cases among women.
The statistics alarm Rogers. “I feel like I need to rescue the black female. I want to help ladies realize their behaviors are harmful,” she says.
For now, Rogers spends time volunteering with community organizations and raising awareness through her medical practice. But she hopes to do more. “I feel like I’m reaching my patients. But I want to reach more women, with a larger platform…so that (awareness) takes on momentum and becomes a movement.”
Rogers believes that sisterhood can also be a powerful force in helping women protect each other. Her message to other women is simple: “Be your sister’s keeper.”