Dr. Dianna Ferguson (Courtesy photo)

As America celebrates Black History Month, Dr. Dianna Ferguson is an example of how a Black woman with a difficult past who faced many challenges growing up overcame them all against all odds.

A successful doctor who’s a Physician in Charge at Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices in Thousand Oaks, Dr. Ferguson’s path in life had a difficult beginning. It started in an inner-city poor area of Tulsa, OK, where her mother at age 16 had to face the choice of being a child raising a child. By age 4, Dr. Ferguson’s father was tragically killed by police as he was mistakenly shot multiple times in the back.

After moving to Los Angeles, she traveled to various family members for most of her younger years to have a roof over her head, as her mother being so young was unprepared for the responsibility of motherhood. Once settled with her mother and stepfather in Los Angeles,
Dr. Ferguson notes her parents chose an unorthodox lifestyle of partying, as well as selling and using drugs.

“They would be out of the home most nights leaving me alone and scared,” Dr. Ferguson recalls. “I would spend them crying and being soothed by my grandmother from Tulsa, OK, on the phone all night; in fear of what could happen being left alone.”

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Despite these great challenges, Dr. Ferguson says she never gave up on life. In fact, through hard work and studying, she graduated from high school, and later enrolled at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.

Despite facing prejudice as a Black medical student, Dr. Ferguson graduated with top grades in 1992, did her residency at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, and later was hired by Kaiser Permanente where she’s worked for many years and was steadily promoted.

Reflecting on her past, Dr. Ferguson is doing everything she can to assist young Black men and women to overcome challenges and succeed in life, just like she did, despite long odds. Among others, she’s participated in Kaiser Permanente’s Hippocrates Circle that helps introduce middle school disadvantaged Black and disadvantaged students to successful careers in healthcare.

She’s also been involved in Brotherhood Crusade in South L.A., a grassroots organization with a vision of improving quality of life and meeting unmet needs of low-income, underserved,  under-represented and disenfranchised individuals. Additionally, she served as a member of the Admission Committee at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine in Pasadena, where she was a strong voice for minority students, many of whom faced challenges like her in life, but deserved an opportunity.

“My message to Black youth and the community in general is: Make good choices. Realize you don’t have to be a victim of circumstances you couldn’t control,” Dr. Ferguson said. “Always strive to be your best, work hard, and don’t ever give up on your dreams. For me, music has been my motivation in life. In fact, I dedicate a song every year to my Hippocrates Circle students in support of them, and that is “Dream,” by Elisabeth Withers.”