Born in Mississippi and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Tolbert Small, M.D., a Hill Health internist in Oakland, went into medicine to do some good in the world. “I was young and idealistic. I wanted to have a career that served the needs of the community and made the world a better place,” he says. After earning his medical degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Dr. Small moved to California in 1968 for an internal medicine residency at Highland Hospital. He has made Oakland his home ever since. Deeply committed to community activism, he served as the physician for the Black Panther party in Oakland and ran a free clinic for the group’s members in the 1970s. Dr. Small also worked to increase awareness and funding for sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder in which the majority of those affected are black. Before going into private practice, Dr. Small worked as an emergency room physician for nine years, while also making house calls to provide care to Oakland residents. In 1980, he opened up his private practice in internal medicine, where he provides an integrative approach to healthcare. After 36 years in practice, his dedication to his patients is unwavering. “Medicine is hard work, but I get so much satisfaction and energy from helping people. I’m 73 years old and I have no plans to retire,” he says. Dr. Small is an avid poet and hopes to devote more time to writing poetry again soon. Outside of his practice, he also enjoys spending time with his family and traveling. Specialty: Internal Medicine--www.hilhealth.com
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