Meharry — 16 May 2013
Meharry Grad Blends Healthy Dose of Medicine and Entertainment

NASHVILLE, TN— Dr. Rani G. Whitfield, M.D., is one of Meharry Medical College’s many crown jewel graduates. He’s a board certifed family physician with a Certicate of Added Qualication in sports medicine, and has become known as “ a Hip Hop Doc” or “H2D” to many of the young adults across the nation, and in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he practices medicine. Dr. Whitfield is an impassioned advocate for increasing the awareness of health-related issues, including HIV/AIDS, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and substance abuse. His mission is to improve social conditions and health care services for African-American youth and parents. By combining hip-hop culture and health messages.

Dr.Whiteld empowers individuals to change unhealthy lifestyles. He is creating a solution to the health and social challenges young urban communities face by offering a forum and a voice for our youth to discover alternative solutions. He is the founder of the “Hip-Hop Medical Moment,” a one minute audio series on pertinent medical topics. To further his mission of educating youth through music, “a’ Hip-Hip Doctor” Dr. Rani launched website in April 2005. As a result of these efforts he appears in Time Warner’s e Power Forward campaign, a communication that honors successful African-Americans during Black History Month is highly sought aer lecturer delivers dynamic presentations on preventative medicine, teen pregnancy, physical fittness, drugs of sexual assault, HIV/AIDS, discrepancies in health care, and diabetes.

He’s been a regular guest on the Tom Joyner Morning Show’s “Wellness Wednesdays,” worked with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and is one of featured medical experts who work with the public with free medical screenings each year at the Essence Festival. Dr. Whiteld was part of a panel featured on CNN to discuss President’s Obama’s plans for Health Care Reform. Other media work includes: Dr. Whiteld has been featured on BET’s number one hip-hop show, 106 and Park, to discuss HIV, HIV testing, and World AIDS Day.

He also appeared on the PBS’s Religion and Ethics Weekly and discussed faith-based and other substance abuse treatment In the most important book ever written about HIV/ AIDS in the African-American community, Not In My Family, includes his views on this important topic along with those of Omar Tyree, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Byron Cage, Al Sharpton, and Patti Labelle, just to name a few. He is also a consultant for AOL Black Voices and writes a monthly column for EUR Web (www.eurweb.com)

Despite all of his commitments to his medical practice and the community, Dr. Rani still finds time to pursue his hobbies and keep himself healthy. He also participates with his fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. in their “old school” step shows when time permits. For his sports fill, he regularly plays basketball with Rani’s Rim Rocker’s (his YMCA team). Dr. Whitfield created his own “docudrama,” A Tale of Two Soles, is working on his first book, and is in the studio with students and friends working on a musical project.

Here Dr. Rani chats about his fond memories of being a proud medical student at Meharry, along with other facets about his informative and inspiring career as a doctor.

TRIBUNE: I’m sure that you had several oers to attend other medical colleges. Why did you choose Meharry?

DR. RANI: “Let me rst say what an honor is to be included in this salute to Meharry. I am so privileged to have the opportunity to be one of their graduates. But yes, I did have several oers to other schools. I had interviewed at Michigan, Georgetown and several others and I was just bit overwhelmed. But I chose Meharry because it had a small, intimate family type atmosphere to it. When I did my rst interview with them, part of the process was hanging out with some of the current student body for lunch. It was during the lunch that I made my decision to study at Meharry. I just felt as if I was at home among family. Everyone was just so warm and friendly. I mean these were people I had never even met before. at family-friendly atmosphere that Meharry taught us is now a part of my daily practice as a doctor. Almost anyone who studies hard enough can learn to be a doctor but Meharry taught me how to take care of patients in a more personable manner. I didn’t just learn the technical side of being a doctor. Meharry also taught me how to communicate with my patients as well.”

TRIBUNE: What are some of your favorite memories or hang out spots while living in Nashville?

DR. RANI: “My favorite hang out spots was actually just being on the Meharry campus. Again, it was like one big family being a student there. I had an apartment on Nolensville Road and my apartment number was 911, so a lot of my friends started calling my place ‘Club 911.’ I often hung out with friends at Fisk too. I was the class president during my freshmen year at Meharry. During that year my roommates were Corey Hall and Corey Abear. Melanie Minzer was also a Meharry student and friend. Her father was a graduate of the school too. All three of us were from Louisiana, so we would often have our famous red beans and rice parties around a big test or working hard all week in school. I of course was the offcial deejay but it was just a big happy family atmosphere during my four years in Nashville at Meharry.”

TRIBUNE: You’re always doing so many wonderful things in the area of health and entertainment. Give us an update on some of the projects you’re now doing.

DR. RANI: “The biggest project I’m doing now is with the local Susan G. Komen people here in Baton Rouge. We did a breast cancer awareness video called PRETTY IN PINK. We’re all hoping the video will get national attention to help raise funds for the local aliate. I also have a musical project called GET ON THE BUS. It’s a conglomerate of songs that reminds or provides awareness about certain issues such as: HIV/AIDS awareness, teen pregnancy, don’t text and drive, childhood obesity problems. We launched the music CD for Get On the Bus this past February, along with some accompanying music videos. We also use this project when we visit various schools to help get the message out even further. A few days ago I was in New York City with the president of the American Heart Association, as part of a media campaign about stroke awareness.”

TRIBUNE: Your love of music and entertainment seems to have been prevalent throughout your life.

DR. RANI: “Yes, my father was the dean of the speech and theatre department at Southern University. I was in my first play at age 4. My siblings were in step shows while they were in college and I would love watching them perform. Music was just always in our house. Even when we were doing our weekly chores, music was on but not television especially while cleaning our rooms and doing the chores. No one in my family plays any instruments except me. I played the trumpet, a little tuba and I taught myself how to play bass guitar..I’m now part of a band call Eurphoria.. We’ve been the opening act for Akon, Alexander O’Neal, Mint Condition and so many others. We also do local weddings and parties too. We’ve played on the casino circuit in the southern region.”

Visit Dr. Rani and get healthily informed at: www.h2doc.com

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