Have you ever been the first to do something? Really, the first? For most people, they really can’t say that they have. For Drs. Karan and Sharon Baucom, identical twin sisters, they can say they have. They were the first minorities and first third-year students to be accepted into the UMKC School of Medicine and then the first African American women to graduate from the program.
To think of the background from which they came, makes the accomplishment even more amazing. The sisters grew up in an under-privileged area of Kansas City, Missouri, and graduated with honors from Central High School. Due to excelling, they drew attention from an anonymous donor who helped them get to KU, where, again, they excelled and drew attention to their abilities. “There wasn’t an award or honor given that one could receive that we weren’t a part of during the three years we attended KU,” Sharon said.
Completing their premed courses, they were invited to attend UMKC School of Medicine in only their third year of undergraduate school. This attracted media attention from The Kansas City Star to The New York Times. Their time at UMKC medical school was successful, leading to attention from many residency programs around the country.
“There was an excitement graduating from UMKC at the time because you knew residency programs would be monitoring your performance against traditionally trained residents,” Karan said. The sisters were asked to join residency programs in family practice and obstetrics and gynecology at KU. “This was a compliment and acknowledgement . . . , “Karan said, of their education.
Karan and Sharon then decided to go their separate ways practicing medicine and teaching and eventually reunited a few years later, establishing their own practice in Topeka, Kansas. Eventually they both went their separate ways again, Karan teaching at KU Medical Center and then establishing The Baucom Institute where she practices anti-aging and rejuvenating medicine, and Sharon became the clinical director for the state of Maryland’s correctional services 24,000 inmates.
“Thank God my sister and I had each other for support during that journey”, Karan said. “It’s such a privilege to know that years ago, we were part of a vision that became a historic model.”
Dr. Baucom continues to be a trailblazer today, challenging traditional medicine with proactive health practices to help her patients live healthier and more fulfilling lives through The Baucom Institute. “Dr. B.”, as she is known to her clientele, believes that “age is only a number, not a way of life” and that life should be about quality in longevity and really living well.
If you haven’t been the first yet, be the first of those you know to change your life and how you live it. How is your health and your quality of life?