Former hospital security guard now a doctor in a triple residency program

Russell Ledet/Facebook

Russell Ledet once studied his organic chemistry flashcards during breaks from his shift as a security guard at Baton Rouge General Medical Center in Louisiana. Now he’s achieved the rare feat of getting into a triple board residency program.

He’s doing a five-year program in pediatrics, general psychiatry and pediatric/adolescent psychiatry at Indiana University’s School of Medicine. In fact, he was the only Black man to match into a triple board residency in 2022 and was chosen as one of Indy’s Best and Brightest in Healthcare for 2023.

He announced the accomplishment on his Twitter at @drrussellledet.

Dr. Ledet, a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and his sister were raised by his single mom. He remembers sometimes needing to scrounge in grocery store dumpsters for leftover food. After high school, he enlisted in the Navy and realized there was more out there in the world.

While he was stationed in Florida, he met his wife, pictured below with him and their two young daughters on his Facebook account. She encouraged him to go back to school, so he enrolled at Southern University and A&M College.

He initially thought he would be a social worker. However, it turned out he was really good at chemistry, and his teacher decided he was meant for something else.

Ledet earned his undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry while serving as a Navy reservist and working as a security guard at Baton Rouge General Medical Center to support his wife and newborn child.

When he worked hospital security, Ledet would ask doctors as they came in what it was like to practice medicine, and the sight of them would motivate him, even when many of them would pay no attention to him. His fellow security guards would laugh when he told them his dream.

“There were a lot of doctors who told me security guards don’t become doctors,” he said in a WTHR news segment the station shared on YouTube. “They were right, because security guards don’t become doctors. They become double doctors.”

But after getting his undergraduate degrees, he received a Ph.D. in molecular oncology and tumor immunology from NYU’s School of Medicine and then earned a dual MD/MBA at Tulane University in New Orleans. It was while he was at Tulane that he did a third-year surgical rotation back at Baton Rouge General, his old stomping grounds as a security guard.

“I’ve been working so hard for so long to get to where I’m at right now,” he said in a YouTube video (below), pointing out that he has now come full circle.

He also added some words of inspiration to others, saying that success does not have to come at the expense of individuality.

“You don’t have to lose your identity and who you are,” he said. “You can be all of the flavor and culture and everything that comes with who you are no matter your skin color. I just want to tell you all, man, it’s in your reach.”

Lidet also leads The 15 White Coats, a group of Black medical students at Tulane who want to improve diversity in medicine, starting with young students’ perceptions of doctors. The group caused a stir in 2019 by posing in lab coats in front of the former slave headquarters at Louisiana’s Whitney Plantation.

Here’s a tweet showing one of the images from that shoot. The post outlines the mission of the group:

As if that all isn’t enough — Dr. Ledet, who is in his mid-30s, is also making films to tell his story.

We’re not sure when Ledet has a chance to sleep! Congrats to him on all of his hard work and accomplishments.

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About the Author
Anna Weaver
Anna Weaver is a writer and multimedia journalist from Hawaii. Her two young kids keep her on her toes and hooked on online shopping. Anna’s also a fan of movies, reading, photography, and sharing far too many IG stories about cute dogs and capybaras. Visit Scripps News to see more of Anna's work.

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