Health care is a vital component of our everyday lives, and we rely on it in the best and worst of times to always be there – a lesson driven home during the past few years.
Then, there are providers like Khadijia Tribié Reid, who wears more hats than most on a daily basis to take care of those around her.
“I am a community health pediatrician,” Tribié Reid said. “I currently serve as the pediatric medical director of MedNorth Health Center. MedNorth is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in New Hanover County that cares for all people, regardless of their insurance status. Uninsured patients benefit from a sliding-fee payment schedule. Prior to working at MedNorth, I worked at a similarly structured FQHC in Duplin County. I enjoy providing high-quality medical care to people who may not otherwise receive such care.”
Pediatrics was a natural fit for Tribié Reid, she said.
“I have always loved children. My initial career goal was to be a child psychologist, but the marvels of traditional science appealed to me,” she said. “Once I chose medicine as my career path, pediatrics was a no-brainer. Neither of my parents and none of my close relatives were doctors. I really had to forge this path with the knowledge I gained along the way.”
Tribié Reid earned her undergraduate degree from Duke University. She took classes at Georgia State University and attended a post-baccalaureate program at Southern Illinois University “to become a more competitive medical school candidate,” she said.
She earned her medical degree at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta and then did a pediatrics residency at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans.
“After residency, I moved to North Carolina and began my first job as a pediatrician in Wallace,” she said. “After 12 years of practicing medicine, I decided to pursue a Master of Public Health, which I obtained from the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of (Global) Public Health in 2020.”
Today, in addition to her clinical work, Tribié Reid has taken on many more responsibilities to further help her community. Those included serving as board president several years ago for Smart Start New Hanover County, which focuses on children from birth to 5 years old.
“This nonprofit is a huge asset to our community,” Tribié Reid said. “Our county’s Smart Start supports more activities than I could ever list including Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Reach Out and Read, parent support groups, day care financial assistance, training for child care staff, child care referral center and many more.”
Tribié Reid now serves as a board member for the N.C. Partnership for Children (NCPC), which is Smart Start at the state level.
“I represent the needs of families like my patients,” she said. “I am proud to amplify the needs of these families and ensure their issues remain on our agenda.”
Tribié Reid also is a New Hanover Community Endowment board member, a position that opened up after N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein recommended that the new group expand to 13 members to reflect a diverse membership.
“It really sounded like the seat was tailor-made for me. So, with my husband’s blessing, I applied, and I was honored to be selected,” Tribié Reid said. “When I see themes, like unfit housing or unmet educational needs, these are the themes I bring before my board. I also talk a great deal about health and wealth disparities and shine a light on the roots of these disparities, as well as the structures that support many of those disparities. While the United States is one of the wealthiest nations, we are far from the healthiest nation. Some populations suffer grave health consequences disproportionately to other populations.
“I always look for the light. There is hope here,” she added. “I’m placing my efforts where there is hope.”
This mentality extends to her daily work as well.
“As the pediatric medical director at MedNorth Health Center, I design policy and create protocols regarding the care of children at our center,” Tribié Reid said. “When I joined MedNorth 10 years ago, there were very few pediatric patients coming to the Health Center. Now, we care for more than 1,000 children. Along the way, we had to design systems to most efficiently and effectively care for these children.”
Tribié Reid is also the chair of Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s pediatrics department.
“In this role, I serve as a liaison between the Department of Pediatrics, the Novant New Hanover system and the community,” she said. “I represent the needs of the pediatric providers to the larger Novant New Hanover system, and I communicate to Pediatric Department members any important changes in how the system works.”
While many people never find a way to “have it all,” it seems as though Tribié Reid has found a way to find fulfillment in many aspects of her life.
“I am thankful to have the support of a loving spouse and mom who help me be my best self,” she said.
“One of the greatest motivations for doing this work is my own journey with my children. I've been excited about every milestone and grateful to watch them achieve it. It fills me with joy to watch any child fulfill his potential,” Tribié Reid said. “In contrast, when I watch highly capable children fail to reach the next wrung, it upsets me. These little people are our future; I want to see them thrive. So, my mission is to make it right – to find the light.”
Editor's note: This version of the story corrects paragraphs that were transposed in the printed version of this article.