[W]orking in an emergency room in Detroit is a high-paced, stressful job, thanks to the crime, which has made Detroit the most deadly city in the United States.
But a 42-year-old African-American surgeon hopes to draw motivation from the violent environment with a new book “The Black Student’s Guide to Success.”
Dr. Roderick Claybrooks MD is one of the youngest board-certified metro-Detroit spine surgeons. He’s also one of the few African-American doctors in the United States that specializes in complicated back surgeries.
His new inspirational book was conceived after he met so many young African-American victims, who were living below their potential.
“The Black Student’s Guide to Success” is part of a series that is intended to assist black students in looking beyond sports and entertainment as career options.
“I meet too many young kids who don’t realize that they have options,” said Claybrooks. “I want kids to have faith in education. If I had my way, academic superstars would be as popular as ‘American Idol’ and as publicized as the Super Bowl.”
On any given evening, the emergency rooms in Detroit are buzzing. A larger hospital like the Henry Ford Hospital may treat as many as 100,000 patients per year, for ailments ranging from illness to traumatic injuries.
Of those visits, a disproportionate amount of the victims treated for gunshot wounds were young, African-American males.
It’s a trend that’s happening nationwide, not just in Detroit. Compared to the general population, gunshot victims are predominantly male, black and under the age of 25.
Pretty much the same audience that billion-dollar companies market their athletic wear, tobacco, alcohol, sport and entertainment products to, thanks to the $1.7 trillion spending power of this particular demographic.
As if the violence wasn’t bad enough, the same influential segment of society is most likely to drop out of high school and be funneled to prison.
“It pains me that many youths, especially African-American boys, and girls, see entertainment or athletics as the only ticket to success,” Claybrooks said about the audience he is targeting.
Dr. Claybrooks knows his market well. He was born and reared on Detroit’s Westside. He avoided a life on the streets by focusing on his education, which lead him to Michigan State University.
Dr. Claybrooks stuck close to home to receive his medical degree, which came from Wayne State University in Detroit.
“You have a much better chance of becoming a brain surgeon than of becoming the next Lebron James,” said Claybrooks. “An education, a good education, is the surest ticket out of the ghetto.”
“The Black Student’s Guide to Success” is broken up into 23 chapters, with advice on everything from finances and wealth, as well as tips on how to pay for college.
Claybrooks thinks the book will put a dent in the high school dropout rate and increase enrollment among financially challenged students.
He has also authored “The Black Parent’s Guide To Financial Success,” which aims to illuminate older readers with information on wealth management, as well as several workbooks.