35 year-old Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green is the prime example of what happens when you allow God to be the driver on your life’s journey. For those who may not know, Dr. Green is the second African American woman to receive her Ph.D from the University of Alabama in Birmingham and has become the talk of the town after being awarded a 1.1 million dollar grant to continue finding an alternative cancer treatment.
I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Green in person. In our interview, her personality was none other than peaceful. She radiated peace and satisfaction in what she has accomplished thus far, but not complacency. Dr. Green is determined to use her grant immediately to bring aid to those affected by cancer. With her determination, she will have the opportunity to possibly start a domino effect of hope in the cancer community. I introduce to you cancer's worst nightmare, Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green.
Dr. Green grew up in University City, Missouri. After her parents died at a young age, she was raised by her aunt and uncle.
From her childhood, Dr. Green had a desire to put her best foot forward in everything. In high school, she engaged in several extra curricular activities, such as swim team, mock trial and being class president all four years of high school. I'm like the “Little Engine That Could,” Dr. Green told RYSE jokingly. Her determination in academics led to a full Presidential Scholarship to Alabama A&M University.
One of the biggest milestones in her undergraduate years was becoming Miss AAMU. Her friends encouraged her campaign because she did not fit the ideal criteria of Miss AAMU. They felt her tomboy image could help break barriers.
“I started to think that maybe I can create a new reality and re-define that a queen is a leader, not just a beauty pageant winner...Once I started re-defining reality, it did unite the campus. I had empowerment conferences that were really up lifting."
In the bliss of her success, hardship struck Dr. Green after graduation. Her aunt announced that she had cancer. She spent the summer after graduation taking care of her aunt and eventually her uncle, who also was diagnosed with cancer.
Her aunt chose to not receive treatment because she did not want to experience the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Her uncle, however, chose chemo as a treatment option.
Watching her uncle go through chemo helped her understand why her aunt wanted to avoid this treatment. While taking care of her aunt and uncle, she came up with the idea to use her background in laser and optics in school as a local treatment for cancer. The use of lasers can focus directly on the affected area and can be less damaging to the body than chemotherapy.
Green spent seven years in graduate school, researched in Singapore, and had her first job at Tuskegee University as an assistant professor. For many years, Dr. Green sacrificed attending weddings, birthdays, and holidays to create a cancer treatment alternative. Her hard work was not in vain and a grant was coming in her favor.
Her mentor, Dr. Shree Singh, Director of The Center for NanoBiotechnology Research at Alabama State University, encouraged Green to apply for the HBCU-Research Scientist Training Program Career Development Award from the Biomedical Laboratory Research & Development Service of the VA Office of Research and Development. The purpose of this grant is to financially support scientists who are early in their careers. In order to apply for this grant, one must write "a letter of intent," reveal that they have two mentors that are from their HBCU and a sponsoring VA medical center. It took Green three years of consistent applying to eventually get the opportunity of a lifetime.
The process of writing a grant proposal is no simple task for an individual. Prior to writing a grant, a scientist has to have a big idea that involves using of the scientific method. They must write a polished document discussing their big idea and how the grant would be beneficial towards their goals. The document must then be reviewed and edited to satisfaction.
Dr. Green applied this dedication towards her application and was successfully awarded the 1.1 million dollar grant. Her dream of providing a better treatment alternative was slowly becoming a reality.
“I am very humbled. I acknowledge that the grant gives me the opportunity to further research these cancer treatments. It is confirmation that this is what God wants me to do. All I have to do is submit to the process and get out of the way.”
Outside of her busy work schedule, Dr. Green makes sure she is mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy by being active in church, working out, eating healthy, and traveling.
“To the young person that doesn’t know what direction to go in there is something that you’re good at, that you don’t have to struggle with to make money. Pastor Mike Murdock said, “one way to find our your passion, is find something that pulls at your heart strings. Also, finding good mentors that will help you get to where you want to be. My mentors have been critical in every junction.”
Dr. Hadiyah Green is ecstatic to move forward with the grant and wants to structure all of her experimental investigations toward what the clinicians need. She hopes to begin clinical trials to soon. In the future, she desires for patients to request her treatment as an option.
“I want to be able to say that I made a difference in the way cancer is treated in America and perhaps around the world," Dr. Green said.
You should never underestimate your capability, like Dr. Green you are designed for greatness. Allow those heart string tugs to guide you on their journey through life.