Name: Carina David
Cultural heritage: Grenadian
Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York
Current Residence: Indianapolis, Indiana
Kiki: Tell me something memorable about your upbringing and how it has shaped the woman you are today?
My mother was an absolute powerhouse. She made it her mission to instill confidence and drive in my sister and I. She made sure we knew that we were capable of achieving absolutely anything if we worked hard and stayed focused. Her dedication to her children – and now her grandchildren – could move mountains.
Kiki: Wow. She sounds like quite the woman. I am sure you had to learn a lot of lessons on your own, though. What are some of the major life lessons you have learned that you would wish you had known at 18 years old?
- Not every minor inconvenience is an existential crisis.
- Invest your time in people who want to see you succeed.
- If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, do something else.
Kiki: Now that is some sage advice. I want to dive into your professional life a little bit. Why did you choose to become a doctor?
It’s unconventional, but it was a relationship convenience that turned into my life’s passion. When I finished secondary school, I desperately wanted to travel abroad for University, just like my older sister, but I was only 16. I think I wanted to be an architect, or maybe it was an engineer. My mother convinced me to enroll at St. George’s University (SGU) until I turned 18. I liked biology and I did well in the sciences so I chose the pre-medicine program – one semester in and I was hooked. St. George’s University definitely changed my life. I haven’t looked back or regretted a minute of it since.
Kiki: Ok so you started out at SGU, which I agree is an amazing institution. Did you do any training elsewhere?
Yes. I did my final clinical years at NYU Langone in Brooklyn, NY, then I completed my residency at Indiana University in Indianapolis, IN. I now specialise in Family Medicine.
Kiki: Of all the areas that you could have decided to go into, what made you choose Family Medicine?
Every doctor I had growing up took care of everyone – me, my sister, my parents. They knew us all so well and they seemed to know everything about everything. I loved that Family Medicine allowed me to deliver babies, take care of sick children, be an expert at women’s health and take care of complex sick adults as well.
Kiki: I am glad you mentioned Women’s Health as it is one of the major reasons we are doing this interview. What projects/initiatives, if any, have you been involved in to raise awareness about Cervical Cancer?
With only one year of post-residency practice under my belt, my focus has primarily been on building my patient panel and trying to provide quality care to as many people as possible. Which means I haven’t had much time for passion projects just yet. Regardless, I am a stickler for ensuring that every eligible patient is up to date on pap smears. Eventually, I would love to bring this focus home and provide free women’s healthcare, specifically pap smears, to as many women as possible.
Kiki: That’s amazing and would benefit so many women. Until you’re able to launch this project, how would you advise women to be proactive and take charge of their own cervical health?
Get your pap smears! Current guidelines recommend starting pap smears at age 21 regardless of the age you became sexually active. Provided results are normal, get your pap every 3 years until age 30, when we start screening for HPV as well, then we can space it out to every 5 years if all is well. Of course, always follow the guidance of your women’s health provider. It’s so important that we maintain open, honest and trusting relationships with our healthcare providers – it can literally save your life!
Kiki: You’re so right. This is the kind of education that we should be teaching our girls from a very young age, I believe. On that note: what would you like to see improved in the area of Women’s Health in Grenada?
Access. Safe and reliable access to healthcare is everything. I would love to see a Grenada where every woman is up to date on all of her necessary screening studies. I would love to see every woman feel empowered to take charge of her physical, mental and sexual wellbeing.
According to the Pan American Health Organization, each year, approximately 72,000 women in the Americas are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 34,000 die from the disease. Study after study has shown us that HPV vaccines for young girls and boys, routine pap smears and HPV screening to detect early lesions and timely treatment are key to eliminating this disease.
In the words of Silvana Luciana, chief of PAHO’s Noncommunicable Diseases Unit “It is unacceptable that women today die from a disease that can largely be prevented”.
Getting to Know you… and everything about you….
Kiki: This has been such a great interview and I am sure the readers will learn a lot from it. But it would never be a real Kiki interview if we didn’t get into the fun stuff.
Kiki: What song/lyric currently defines your life right now?
Burna Boy – Bank on It
“Life is sweet when the sun up, like the trees in the summer”
Is it obvious that winter is wearing on me and I desperately miss Grenada?
Kiki: What can’t you live without?
My podcasts. I’m deep in the True Crime rabbit hole right now. Currently binging “Crime Junkie”.
Kiki: What’s in our online shopping basket right now?
Bibs and a high chair – new mom life.
Kiki: Who do you ista-stalk and why?
My sister, she is hilarious and her boys make my day, every day. When I’m not stalking her, definitely fan-girling on Amanda Gorman right now. Holy black girl magic! Listening to her speak at the US presidential inauguration was awe-inspiring.
Kiki: What’s the next thing on your bucket list?
Getting back home! I haven’t been to Grenada since October, 2019 (thanks, COVID). This is by far the longest I’ve ever been away from home. I can not wait to get home and finally have my parents, my sister and nephews meet my son.
Facebook: Carina Schreyer
LinkedIn: Carina David, MD