Dr. Julia L. Jackson

Excerpt from the book: “Training Ivy How to Become the First Practicing Female African-American Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon in both the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth of Virginia” By Dr. Julia L. Jackson

Where should I begin? Well, immediately, the first person that comes to mind is my wonderful mother. Her motivation and inspiration are the main ingredients to my dedication. You see, my father was an electrical engineer and patented inventor he was a great man who has since passed, but I believe his ability to problem solve and think creatively helped mold me into the scientist that I am today.

Dr JacksonAs an adolescent I was a handful to say the least, awards, honors, suspensions, disciplinary actions and Class President of the Freshmen Class, a true mix bag of adolescent mischief, perseverance and self determination. I finished ninth grade from Abington Friends School a small private school located in Jenkintown PA in the suburbs of Philadelphia. A curriculum based on Quakerism. A way of teaching and instruction that I had become very accustom to since pre-kindergarten at age 5. A soft spoken passive environment. This education was nurturing but stale and traditional. By seven, eighth and ninth grade, my pre-teen hormones and adolescent behavior caused major conflict with the peaceful, non confrontational Quaker values. I was considered “hyperactive” and “boisterous” they practically called me “out of control”. Unfortunately this required my mother to have more than her fair share of parent teacher conferences. Although those initial struggles in school were self-defeating, the obstacles and challenges now appear self induced. I was aware of my internal conflict. Once I came to understand that my behavior sets the tone for my environment. I came to understand that my actions could come to good use. I realized I could use my actions, and disposition to have a quite or peaceful atmosphere or I could be intensely disruptive in my environment.

Understanding and having power over my action, untimately lead to power over my surroundings. Self-control was a lot to conceptualize as a young adult. My growing and development were multifaceted. Physically growing, emotionally growing, and developmentally growing simultaneously. Frequently outside influences can be disruptive. Fortunately for me internal conflicts were my biggest challenge.

Self-control, learning to remain quiet, actually siting still for long periods of time these were the most difficult. I am glad that I never gave up. I am glad to have had steadfast support. At all times I believed in my goals. Part of my story is the fact that I identify as African American or simply put I am a person of color. As a person of color attending two different predominantly caucasian elementary schools I was always one of the few people of color in my grade let alone my entire school. So at the end of ninth grade after not being asked to return for tenth grade due to disruptive behavior, I asked my parents if I could attend a school with more students “of color”. My parents and I decided I would attend one of the very elite three public magnet schools in the greater Philadelphia area. Central High school was coed and was the largest of the three.

The Philadelphia High School for Girls was my mother’s alma mater. George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science was the one I chose. The school was located downtown on my mother’s way to work and in the direction of my younger brother’s school, Friends Select School. Each morning my mother would take my brother and I to school, this was very important time to gather our thoughts and discuss our goals for the day. Carver High School of Engineering and Science was an environment that included adolescents from the neighborhood and other neighborhoods in Philadelphia. This was a very unique experience for me. I was able to learn and develop coping skills. This was an opportunity to continue to build myself determination and self-resilience. I instinctually followed my mother’s sound advice I was very quiet in high school, it was as if in this environment I had become the soft spoken non-confrontational peaceful person. Quakerism had made a great and positive influence on me. These are the characteristics I try to emulate on a daily basis to this day.

After graduating from college in Connecticut from Wesleyan University then on to completing a Doctorate in Dental Medicine from Temple University to successfully completing a post graduate surgical residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery from Howard University Hospital. I am the only practicing African America female Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon in both the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Jumping the broom in 2013 with the love of my life. Mr. Jason Duffus

Dr. Franklyn Scott was my first partner in private practice. A mentor and a long time friend of the family, he showed me the ropes of the business and gave me my first job opportunity.

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