Lonnie T. Sullivan II


Hometown: Woodstock, GA

Name of Undergraduate Institution: Morehouse College

Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biology Major

Name of Medical School: Duke University School of Medicine

Favorite Quote: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?

Currently, I am a third-year medical student at Duke University School of Medicine and I am pursuing a career in Internal Medicine. I chose to pursue a career in medicine because I realized during my matriculation at Morehouse College that I not only love science, but I also love interacting with people. The ability to take what I learn in a classroom and directly apply it to the care of real life patients is rewarding in ways that almost no other profession can offer.

If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell him?

I did not start Morehouse College thinking that I wanted to become a doctor. My initial goal was to earn a doctoral degree in cell biology and eventually become a professor. I later switched my career path to medicine near the end of my Junior year of college. If I could go back in time and have a conversation with my former self, I would instruct myself to make the switch to pursuing medicine much sooner. There is a lot of preparation involved with applying to medical school. More time to perseverate on the many aspects of the application process would have certainly helped!

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?

The most valuable piece of advice that I can give to anyone trying to become a physician is DO NOT GIVE UP! Pre-medical undergraduate courses and the application process are tough and this discourages many students. Furthermore, people will often put you down for not having the “perfect application” and you may begin to second-guess your credentials and ability to handle medical school. I was extremely close to switching my major from biology in undergrad because the coursework was so difficult and some people made me feel as though I was not good enough to be a biology major. If I would have switched majors or listened to all the negative rhetoric that is out there, I wouldn’t be training at one of the best medical institutions in the country today! So if you are determined to become a physician, or scientist, or whatever, please never give up because the world needs your brilliance!

What do you feel is the most challenging part of medical school? The easiest part?

The most challenging part of being in medical school is the time commitment. Many people warned me of how difficult the coursework would be in medical school prior to me becoming a medical student. Personally, I have not found the work to be nearly as challenging as simply managing my time. Coursework, board exams, research, clinical responsibilities, and studying to advance my own knowledge, are all things that I have to balance in addition to my personal life. This is something that takes a lot of practice and is something that I am still trying to learn.

The easiest part of medical school is staying motivated. I always remain motivated to keep learning, pushing, and trying to better myself because I realize that people’s lives will eventually be in my hands. Medical school is very different from undergrad in the sense that you are learning not to simply pass a test, but to treat patients. This is a different level of responsibility that requires a heightened level of focus and dedication.

How have you been able to deal with your romantic relationship and medical school at the same time?

My fiancée and I started dating during our Junior year of undergrad. However, we had to maintain a long distance relationship when we both moved away to study at our respective professional schools. Thankfully, we lived only 4 hours away from each other so that made planning monthly visits more feasible. Despite having a lot of work to do between the both of us, we always made time for one another. We Skyped and/or talked on the phone every day so that we never lacked communication. Communication is hands down the most important component to building/maintaining a successful relationship. Especially when one or both of you are in professional school. Now we are getting married and I couldn't be more happy!

Thank you for sharing some words of wisdom as well as some of your experiences with us Lonnie, it is much appreciated! I fully agree with just about everything you had to say! And congrats again on getting married man!! 

Health Career Spotlights Home Page

Posted on December 5th, 2016

2 thoughts on “Lonnie T. Sullivan II

  1. Hello, My name is Joan Sullivan, I am the mother of Lonnie Sullivan. I wanted to thank you for such a wonderful piece that you written about my son. Since this article, he has married his Spelman sweetheart, done cardiology research, and written medical publications. Lonnie has Match Day approaching in March, and is about to graduate (in May) and take his Hippocratic Oath. Thank you for shinning light on the black male in medical school. It has been a long journey for Lonnie, but as he stated in the article Never Give Up. Lonnie never gave up.

    1. Hello Mrs. Sullivan! You are very welcome and I’m really happy to hear that Lonnie is doing so well! He really deserves all the great things that have been coming to him. I’m honored to be able to help shine light on minorities in the healthcare field, especially black males. I’m sure that Lonnie is going to be an amazing doctor!

Leave a Reply