Dr Kamika Peddie: The God-loving, God-fearing healer
Dr Kamika Peddie

UNLIKE many doctors who rush consultations with patients and who demonstrate very little empathy, internal medicine physician Dr Kamika Peddie sometimes would pause in the middle of sessions, just to pray for people she discerns need far more than just medication to heal.

For roughly 16 years she has worked in the medical field, impacting the lives of Jamaicans with various medical conditions and personal problems. Her love for people and medicine has even in very recent times propelled her to co-found a medical centre alongside her husband, Walric Peddie.

She told All Woman that around the time she completed medical school, she embarked on a spiritual journey which has kept her successful in her life and career.

"When I finished medical school, I became more mature in my faith walk. I started to read the Bible more and I got more spiritually grounded, and I saw things differently. Being a doctor allows me to interact with people every day. I am able to have conversations with them even sometimes about things that are not medically related. You have the opportunity to explore different things about the person. It is a way to share my faith, encourage other people in their faith, and even pray for them."

She added: "There are times when I go to work and while I am doing the work I realise that something else may be happening and I don't think that writing a prescription alone is going to help them. I really stop and say, 'do you mind if I pray with you?' I may even encourage them to walk with the Lord. I may not say it to everybody, but I just may feel it in my spirit and say that this person needs encouragement in their faith, or just pray for them, whatever it is they are going through. Many times medical issues are not necessarily just pure health problems. They may come to you with other things that are causing or exacerbating their medical diagnosis.

Dr Kamika Peddie

She explained that she enjoys having the opportunity to interact with people and is grateful because she has the training and is qualified to give medical advice.

"But a lot of people are in need of support spiritually as well as the need for medical care. Because of my love for the Lord, if I discern that someone is going to need encouragement, I go ahead and do it. I am grateful to be able to have a career where I can influence people. On my journey, God has moved me to be successful at whatever level I want to go. He provides the way and has made me successful in whatever I am doing."

Dr Peddie is the second of four children for her parents and was raised in the comfort of a close-knit family that values education. She praised her parents for ensuring she had a fun childhood and for making untold sacrifices to allow her and her siblings to lead successful lives.

"My parents worked very hard to send us all to school and we were blessed to have parents who sacrificed a lot. My father is a coffee farmer and my mother works at the National Road Safety Council. They produce coffee on their farm in St Thomas. Their company is Moy Hall Estate."

Dr Peddie attended two of the best schools, and while the importance of academics was stressed upon her, her mother never failed to promote and encourage extracurricular activities for a balanced life.

"My mother ensured that we grew up rounded. I love to dance so my two sisters and I did modern dance from we were young children straight up to adulthood. We grew up having the discipline from sticking with our extracurricular activity. I was also blessed to go to Mona Preparatory and then Campion College," she shared, highlighting that the environment in which she was raised and schooled, fostered her pursuit of medicine.

"In school, all the children had a very high standard of what they wanted to accomplish. Many of the students said they wanted to be lawyers or doctors. I grew up in that environment, so it was almost a natural inclination to aim for that kind of educational level. It also happened that I enjoyed the sciences, biology, chemistry and mathematics. Because I enjoyed those subjects, naturally I would have wanted to go into medicine. I guess I could have been other things too, like become a pharmacist, but for some reason I became a doctor. I thought it was the right thing for me to aim for.

"My eldest sister wanted to do dentistry and my youngest sister dreamt to become a paediatrician. I think it was the family as well as socialising through school that made me say, this is where I think I want to go with my career. That is really what got me on the path to doing medicine. It wasn't a straightforward journey, but I eventually got my foot in after years of school. There was a lot of hard work and dedication. God was on my side because He allowed it to happen."

After high school, Dr Peddie pursued tertiary studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, which she said was a very treasured period of her life. She started out doing pure and applied sciences in 1997 and entered medical school in 2001. In 2006 she completed her training. A few years later, in 2009, she started working at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) as a medical officer. She then applied for the internal medicine programme and spent four years completing specialty training at UWI. Internal medicine has to do with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of internal diseases.

"I completed it around 2016 and then after I finished my programme I was now an internal medicine specialist and then I came back to KPH to work and I have been there since. I have been there from then to present. That has really been the long journey of education and experience," she said.

As difficult as it is for some career women, the mother of a nine-year-old daughter, Nia and a three-year-old son, Noah, Dr Peddie does as best she can to strike that balance between work and family life.

"I understand that work is important, but even more important is family, and I don't want to sacrifice the time with family. When I have an opportunity to be with my children and my husband I take advantage of it. Any time that I have, I just use it. I try and make the most of even half hour or 20 minutes," she said.

"In terms of creating the whole business and getting everything going and just putting things in place and making sure that things are done on the business side of it, my husband has been the driving force for it. When he came with the idea, it just seemed like a natural thing for me. He said, 'Kamika, we need to start our own business'. He is co-founder for the business. It is a medical care facility. We literally started it in the last three weeks. It is a medical practice and we are looking to build other things out of it such as home visits, for people who need medical care at home. We hope to grow."

JASON CROSS

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