From Hardship to Harvard

Dr. Rhondee Benjamin-Johnson (1992 Beat the Odds Winner) described the murder of her aunt and its effect on her family, which grew overnight from five to ten children when she won the Washington, D.C. Beat the Odds scholarship in 1992. She said of the murder, “The main impact was that we didn’t have enough money. We were thrown into poverty, and we felt the stigma of being poor.” Rhondee graduated from Spelman College and Harvard Medical School. She also got a master’s degree in anthropology and development from the London School of Economics. Rhondee has practiced medicine in underserved communities in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, and since 2013, is the medical director at Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Health in the District of Columbia which provides not only health care but also social services. Rhondee has stayed close to CDF and has been on the Beat the Odds Selection Committee for many years.