We had the good fortune of connecting with Tiffany Clay, MD and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tiffany, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I’ve always considered work life balance to be extremely important in my career. It’s one of the reasons I chose to practice Dermatology because I know that I can have weekends off and get home at a reasonable time after working. My balance has changed over the last 5+ years as the scales tipped more in favor of life versus work. I work 4, ten hour days as I always have however now I’m doing more self-care and I’m less likely to skip vacations when I feel I need one. For example, it took me 2 years to finally say no when my job asked if I wanted to work the day after Thanksgiving. It was okay for me to enjoy one more day over the Thanksgiving holiday with my family and ultimately the few patients I would’ve seen would be just fine if I wasn’t there that one day. I am taking more time out to enjoy life and time with my husband and family. Our family is growing this summer so being more in the moment and all about my family instead of just work is important.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am one of the 3% of black dermatologists in the United States and this alone is one of my proudest achievements. It took several years (12 to be exact) of school, education and studying to get here. I’ve been in practice almost 6 years now in Atlanta. Becoming a board certified dermatologist was very difficult due to how competitive getting into the field is, lack of diversity in the field and lack of support/mentoring during medical school.
A few lessons I learned about my journey are:
1. Ask for help! I look back and think about how much more support I would’ve had if I’d asked for help when I needed it from professors, other doctors who looked like me. I was pretty shy when I was in school and felt like I was burdening someone if I asked for help. Don’t make that mistake because it never hurts to ask.
2. Persevere. This lesson was vital to me applying to medical school for the 2nd time. The first time I applied was in the wake of Hurricane Katrina while I attended college in New Orleans. My first round of applications were incomplete because I couldn’t get in touch with professors for recommendation letters, so I had to reapply the next year. In the meantime I studied, volunteered and worked to make myself a stronger applicant instead of quitting and finding another career path. I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else except medical school.
I want the world to know that I am honest, I work extremely hard to advocate & educate my patients, and that I wasn’t given the easy road.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love to eat so the whole trip would revolve around my favorite places to eat: Pasta da Pulcinella, Double Zero, Home Grown, Secreto kitchen, Apres Diem, Yebo Beach House, Siamese basil thai, Java Jive, Rumi’s Kitchen, Busy Bee Cafe, My Potato Factory
Hangouts: Friday night Jazz at the High Museum, Eastside Beltline trail, Botanical Garden, day trip to N GA wine country
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to shoutout my mother. She set the example of what perseverance and determination can get you. I always worked hard and didn’t quit because I never saw her quit and she has been in constant support of my dreams. My mother is an entrepreneur with a day job who is also the sole caretaker for a special needs relative who her siblings wouldn’t take in. She does all this while operating her business My Potato Factory.