ORLANDO, Fla. - Every day, thousands of doctors are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially putting their own health at risk to help others.
That includes new doctors just starting their health careers during the pandemic.
For example, two young pediatric doctors are doing this and taking it all in stride. They are Dr. Gabriel Williams, a second-year resident at Nemours Children's Hospital, and Dr. Monet Winslow, a first-year resident at the same hospital.
"It came out of nowhere. That’s how 2020 felt," Dr. Williams said.
Dr. Winslow added, "I knew, that now is the better time than ever for me to get started."
They are both recent graduates of the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine. They work at Nemours Children's Hospital, where they have treated COVID patients.
"The first time I ever went into a room with a covid-positive patient I was a little nervous. I can definitely say that," Dr. Williams told FOX 35.
He grew up in Pine Hills but did not see a minority doctor until he was an adult. He understands that representation matters, especially now with skepticism and misconceptions about COVID and the vaccine.
"I think I’ve found the greatest benefit in being able to have those conversations in a setting where people are more willing, I think, to hear that from somebody that looks like them," Dr. Williams said.
Dr. Winslow started her first year of residency in the middle of the pandemic and said that it has helped her be more aware of the patients' underlying financial and social situations.
"As I talk to families and try to gauge with them, like how is the coronavirus impacting them, how has the pandemic impacted them, is there anything I can do as a physician to help to close any gap," she said.
Only five percent of active doctors are Black, the Association of American Medical Colleges said. However, Blacks make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, the Census Bureau shows. Both Dr. Williams and Dr. Winslow are the first in their families to be doctors.
"I hope that my presence sends a message to patients who look like me, oh I can do this too if I wanted to," Dr. Winslow said.
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.