LONG BEACH — Crystal Brown has a heart for her community.That’s a good thing for the city of Long Beach. After graduating in May from Temple University, the 26-year-old aspiring doctor intends to use her education — including her upcoming work as a medical resident at the University of Southern California — and help the disadvantaged locally.
The Long Beach Poly High School graduate also wants to be a role model for kids in the city.
In her mother’s house on a recent morning, she reflected on her journey so far and spoke about her hopes for the future and the desire to help others in Long Beach.
“I’ve always seen myself coming back to Long Beach,” Brown said. “Growing up in Long Beach, it’s a diverse area. My graduating class (at Poly) had like a thousand people. (I always ask) what was the difference for you? I had role models growing up. I had my mom or my dad. And so I want to fulfill that for other people.”
Brown comes from a medical family. Her father, Hosea Brown, is a physician. When she was a child, Crystal Brown would join her mother, Beverly Lassiter-Brown, at community health fairs in Watts.
Lassiter-Brown was part of the faculty in the physician’s assistant program at Charles Drew University.
The health fairs inspired Crystal Brown to pursue medicine.
Later, as a basketball player under Coach Carl Buggs at Poly, she remained focused on academics and graduated from Pepperdine University before heading to Temple in North Philadelphia.
Brown already has helped the impoverished in other parts of the world.
A college trip to Jinotega, Nicaragua, gave her the opportunity to help set up mobile clinics in a poverty-stricken village with little sanitation or infrastructure.
Hundreds of people — some on horseback — travelled several miles to receive blood pressure checks, vaccinations and other medical help.
Ever modest, Brown said the medical staff “just needed hands.”
At Temple, she followed her mother’s footsteps and helped bring health fairs to a local elementary school, leading nutrition programs and teaching about alcohol abuse.
While community service chair of the university’s Student National Medical Association chapter, Brown started a program to educate black men about the high rates of hypertension.
At USC, Brown will specialize in emergency medicine.
Although her schooling will take Brown at least into her late 20s, she said it’s been worth it.
Her advice for young doctors-to-be is simple.
“Keep your eyes on the prize and stay focused,” she said. “If this is what you want to do, eight years in the grand scheme of things is nothing.”