HER father is from Barbados, her mother is from Guyana, she was born in St Lucia and lived in Trinidad, but when it came time to pursue her career, Jamaica was the obvious choice for Dr Mandi Elliot.
The 31-year-old consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist is the newest addition to the team at Gynae Associates, situated at Tangerine Place, and has been settling in quite well as she tends to the varying needs of women who seek her out for help.
“This is my passion, this is what I have wanted to do since I was four years old. I actually became a doctor to become a gynaecologist. It feels really good to be actually living your dreams and doing something you have always aspired to do,” she told All Woman.
Dr Elliot wanted to become a gynaecologist because even from that tender age, she realised how a woman's sexual and reproductive health could contribute to her wellbeing.
“When I was four I used to go with my mother when she was pregnant with my younger sister to her visits, and I would see all those women in the waiting room just sitting patiently to see this person from behind this door that I was never allowed to go in to, and they would come out happy and smiling.
Possibly it was because the wait was over, but in my eyes it was this person behind this door that was making all these women happy, and I just wanted to do that. That was my first encounter and from that, it was just what I wanted to do,” she explained.
Dr Elliot had pursued her degree in Trinidad, but she was told by her schoolmates that Jamaica would be a good place to undertake her postgraduate studies, hence her decision to relocate.
“I decided to try it out and I guess I fell in love with Jamaica,” she said. “I love the food, the music, the night life, and Bolt.” She was finally able to meet the athlete about two years ago and made sure to take photos to capture the moment. “I am really in awe of his capabilities, I really, really am; I mean, he is the fastest man in the world,” she beamed.
Dr Elliot said her parents had really wanted her to come back following the completion of her studies, but after working at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay and the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, she opted to become a consultant, working from her own office.
“It was a very nice experience, but you work very hard though. You see a lot of patients; it's not what I expected. Before I came here I knew of Montego Bay as a tourist place, so I just figured you wouldn't have a lot of work, you could be at the beach every day...
“It's a lot of hard work, I find that the patient load is a lot more than at UHWI, but I learnt a lot, it was a good experience,” she said.
Dr Elliot finds that a lot of her patients are between 18 to 35 and so she tries to educate those within this age group through social media.
“I like to see myself as a social media doctor, so to speak. I actually have a Twitter page where I speak and write about a lot of women's issues and common things that women go through, like pap smears and fibroids and STDs, and actually I have got a lot of patients just from having that Twitter page.
People will message me asking questions and asking advice. I also have a blog in the works,” she explained.
“Even on Instagram, in between my selfies, I like to post little messages, reminding women to get their pap smears done and to get tested for HIV and just any little public service announcement, to make people aware and remember their health,” she said.
Although her job as a doctor can be demanding, Dr Elliot believes in taking time away from work to unwind. She tries to go back to St Lucia to spend time with family at least once per year, but when she is in Jamaica she likes to go out and have fun.
“My motto is pray hard, work hard, play hard. And for me, it's in that order. It's always put God first, pray hard, then you work hard to achieve your goals, and then you find time to play and enjoy life.”
Being a consultant allows her to plan her schedule the way she likes.
“That's something my parents have always instilled in me, always to be your own boss, so I guess this was my way of doing this so I could set my hours and work as I want.”
Dr Elliot said she grew up in a tight-knit family and hopes to settle down and start one of her own soon. In fact, she says this and travelling to Europe are the next things she plans to accomplish.