A L U M N I P R O F I L E Esi M. Rhett-Bamberg, MD ’07: A Girl Born on Sunday L N ess than 20 years ago, Esi M. Rhett, MD ’07, was making her mark and setting records as a sprinter and honor student at Moorestown High School, in New Jersey. At the same time, inspired by an aunt and a cousin, both practicing obstetrician-gynecologists, she set her sights on a career in medicine. “My aunt Jeanette was so knowledgeable. Whenever I had a question about science or anything else, she knew the answer. I wanted to be just like her,” she says. ow, as a young physician, Dr. Rhett is off to a remarkable start both in her profession and in her community. In the fall of 2015, she was one of 100 physicians at varying stages of their careers chosen to be profiled in a new publication, Against All Odds: Celebrating Black Women in Medicine, by Crystal Emery. The honor came just four years after Dr. Rhett’s first faculty appointment, as assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Texas (UT) McGovern Medical School at Houston, where she comB Y K A T E O ’ N E I L L pleted her residency. “It was a huge honor to be included in Against All Odds so early in my career,” she says. “I stand on the shoulders of the other physicians in the book. My story has just begun, but I hope that when my life and career are over, I can be the shoulders to someone else!” Also in 2015, Dr. Rhett was recognized as a “community hero” at the Fourth Annual Top 50 Black Health, Medical and Wellness Professionals Awards Ceremony in Houston. Another influential force and mentor was her grandfather, Hermann Rhett. A member of the historic Montford Point Marines, “he persevered through many challenges to achieve his dream of becoming a computer engineer,” she says. “He worked so hard every day of his life and inspired the whole family.” Hermann Rhett’s granddaughters were his greatest love. “He paved the way and encouraged me to always do my best,” Dr. Rhett says. “And when I got my MD, he’d write ‘Dr. Rhett! Dr. Esi Rhett’ all over the place!” At Rutgers University’s Douglass College, Dr. Rhett was on the dean’s list and was chosen for the Big East Academic All-Star Team. She participated in Access-Med, an articulated program that supports members of minorities underrepresented in medicine. In addition to completing the premed curriculum, she studied in Spain, preparing to work with a diverse patient population, and graduated with a minor in Spanish. “Esi was memorable: brilliant, patient, and caring,” says Kamal Khan, MD, director, Rutgers Office for Diversity and Academic Success in the Sciences. As director of the AccessMed MCAT preparation course, Dr. Khan admired Dr. Rhett’s extraordinary focus, a quality shaped in part, 42 Robert Wood Johnson I MEDICINE