“I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all.”

—James Baldwin

For many of us, when asked to describe who we are, may recite the first few designations that sit top of mind. Often intimidated to look deep within and peel back shrouded layers of our core, we instinctively reveal what is already visible to the naked eye. Usually preceded by a light chuckle and quick glance to the sky, we search for the rightwords to say. Alas, introspection can truly be the most brooding at times.

For one of our brilliant second-year General Surgery residents, the uncovering question led him into a meditative state. During the dramatic pause, there wasn’t a sound in the air but his pen colliding with a sheet of paper, a harmonious union. He let the words escape him, revealing himself to himself; giving what was once an empty (blank) canvas great depth, purpose and meaning—his story beginning to unfold. “I am Anthony Dwayne Douglas II,” he broke our three minutes of silence with. “I am a proud son, brother, African American and general surgeon. I am relentless, hardworking, humble and in the human business.” This revelation set the tone for our full-bodied discussion.

Anthony Dwayne Douglas II, MD, is proud of who he is and where he comes from, not only the triumphs, but also the roadblocks and imperfect terrains he’s had to trudge. Made up of equal parts brilliance, confidence and humility, he is immensely thankful to have the opportunity to be a Black man in a white coat. Dr. Douglas candidly explored the varied challenges that trainees (of color) face during virtual interview processes and the different barriers many encounter. He voiced that his UChicago Medicine interview experience was unique in that he deduced forthwith that the Department possesses an inclusive culture not one that was generated as a reactive measure, but a culture that is embedded in the Department’s cemented mission. This influenced his desire to join its progressive network of surgical innovators.

Like many other minority providers, Dr. Douglas is a symbol of hope and inspiration for those who look like him—patients, colleagues and future leaders of surgery. “With great power comes great responsibility,” he quoted with a smile, as his motivation is heavily influenced by the power, privilege and ability to make a substantial impact in someone’s life. He is a hardworking young surgeon who is eager to give his all to the world, particularly underprivileged souls that need a warm, sincere and advocating hand to grasp.

Dr. Douglas’s enrapturing charisma, empathy and ambition radiated from the viewfinder end of the camera and lent generously to what became a vulnerable, heartfelt and insightful conversation.

This is Anthony Dwayne Douglas II, Behind the Mask.

Excellence in graduate medical education dwells at the foundation of the University of Chicago Medicine Department of Surgery’s tripartite mission. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to providing a holistic educational experience to the most compassionate and brightest minds in medicine.

The Department of Surgery houses five Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)–accredited residency training programs and more than 10 subspecialty fellowship programs. Our renowned residency programs are aimed at developing the next generation of extraordinary surgeons from today’s thought leaders in medical education.