During her childhood in Northeast Philadelphia and Germantown, Dr. Stanford dreamt of becoming a doctor. Her chosen field of pediatric surgery came not only from her love of children and inspiration from her father (who worked at Pennsylvania’s Department of Children and Youth), but also because, as she puts it, “People didn’t expect girls like me to become surgeons.” After she received her undergraduate and medical degrees from Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Stanford achieved her childhood dream and defied societal prejudices in one fell swoop.
In medical school, she described how inner-city students like herself were encouraged to work in lower-paying primary-care jobs in community health centers rather than working in higher-paying leading hospitals and medical centers. As her medical career advanced, she found that she was held to higher standards and faced lower expectations simply because she was an African American woman. While the systemic racism she encountered weighed on her, she never let it deter her. Dr. Stanford persevered and founded R.E.A.L. Concierge Medicine, a private practice where she provides healthcare to athletes, celebrities, and corporate executives.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading through Philadelphia, Dr. Stanford saw coronavirus statistics disproportionately affecting Black populations and knew these numbers would only be compounded by longstanding healthcare inequities. But as Dr. Stanford said, "Just talking about the problem doesn't solve it – there needs to be action.” And act she did. In less than 48 hours, Dr. Stanford stopped work at her thriving private practice, rented a van, purchased testing supplies, and drove to her church's parking lot to offer free COVID-19 testing to all. She did all of this at a time when government officials and agencies were struggling to mobilize testing efforts, especially in minority communities. Shortly after that first testing clinic, the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium (BDCC) was born. The BDCC expanded its services when vaccines became available and has provided free testing and vaccinations to more than 75,000 residents in Philadelphia's minority neighborhoods. Through this heroic work, Dr. Stanford became a national symbol for equalizing access to health care for people of color in disadvantaged communities.
Dr. Stanford has received numerous awards and recognitions for her medical work, including the Philadelphia Business Journal’s "Top 40 Under 40 Award," The Philadelphia Tribune’s "Top 10 Under 40," The City of Philadelphia’s "Next Generation of Women Leadership Award," Philadelphia Maneto Award, W.H.Y.Y.'s Philadelphia Magis Award, along with a Senior Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.