October 31, 2019

‘It just makes me want to work harder and never stop’

Commission on the Status of Women honors Dr. LaTonya Riddle-Jones


LaTonya Riddle-Jones, M.D.

Wayne State University School of Medicine physician-educator LaTonya Riddle-Jones, M.D., M.P.H., received the Alumna Woman of Distinction Award from the President’s Commission on the Status of Women at an awards dinner held Nov. 7, 2019 at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

The award is presented annually to a Wayne State alumna who has demonstrated a sustained commitment to women and/or issues of diversity, equity and inclusion after earning a degree.

“I have always been an advocate for gender equity, and receiving this honor makes me feel more than ever that it is my duty to work harder to promote and engage in research, innovation and educational endeavors to elevate these issues,” she said.

Dr. Riddle-Jones, an assistant professor of Internal Medicine, graduated from the School of Medicine in 2008, and completed a WSU Med-Peds residency in 2012. She is medical director of Corktown Health Center in Detroit, Michigan’s first nonprofit medical home dedicated to serving adult LGBTQ patients and their families. She sees her role as a physician and medical educator as an opportunity to improve public health nationally and globally, beginning with the work she does as co-director of Service Learning within the medical degree curriculum’s Population, Patient, Physician and Professionalism course. Her colleague, the medical school’s Director of Community Engagement Jennifer Mendez, Ph.D., nominated her for the COSW award.

“I enjoy teaching and public service. The work that my colleagues and I do is not easy, and we do it because we care and we want the next generation of clinicians to be better than us,” Dr. Riddle-Jones said. “We do it quietly, and I prefer to work behind the scenes. Sometimes we do not get credit for the hard work, and we usually do not care. This award shows us that our work is actually being seen and valued. That feels tremendous, and it is revitalizing. It just makes me want to work harder and never stop.”

She views medicine and life as a continuum.

“I believe that medical education is also a continuum, so undergraduate medical education and graduate medical education, and the faculty and trainees for both, should all be working together. We are working on this type of integration with the new curriculum at the School of Medicine. All parties have to be open to this type of collaboration for maximum benefit,” she said. “There is so much talent here at WSU, and if we can bring the various frameworks from disciplines such as business, engineering, medicine, policy and more together, we do have a chance at improving the public health of our nation and the global society that we live in.”