More Than One Way with Steven Bradley of The Black Doctors Podcast


Does your podcast offer hope?

Many of the podcasts featured here on Causepods do just that, and today we have a special episode. It’s about illuminating opportunities in the medical community for Black Doctors.

Sometimes in a world of noise, confusion, and pain, we need good stories about people ahead of us in life, showing the way and bringing resources for those who are just getting started to lead the way forward.

These podcasts are just what we need to help bring opportunity to those who need it most and let them know the abundant possibilities available.

Key Topics:
  • Getting started in the medical profession (1:31)
  • What challenges were present to become a doctor (2:26)
  • What was the genesis moment to start The Black Doctors Podcast (7:14)
  • Biggest challenges getting the podcast off the ground (8:45)
  • What feedback have you received from listeners who listen (12:15)
  • What time challenges have the podcast presented being a busy doctor (16:05)
  • What makes Young Doctors DC the charity of choice for this episode (18:20)
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00:00:02.350 – Speaker 1
Hi and welcome to CausePods, I’m your host, Mathew Passy. Here at CausePods, we have one simple mission to highlight the amazing folks who are using podcast as a way to raise awareness for good causes and make the world a better place, whether it’s in their own local community or their taking on global issues. Please visit us at where you can learn about our guests, show their favorite charitable cause. Join our Facebook group of resources for CausePods podcasters and find a link where you yourself could be a guest here on CausePods.

00:00:33.970 – Speaker 1
Again, that’s all at All right, going to take you down to Norfolk, Virginia, and we are chatting with Dr. Steven Bradley. He is the host and creator of the Black Doctors podcast. He’s an anesthesiologist and he created the show to tell the stories of minority health care professionals. And I think given what is going on in the world today, the kind of stories, the kind of voices that we looking to elevate. I’m very excited to hear more about this show, more about Dr.

00:01:08.050 – Speaker 1
Bradley’s journey and excited to bring him on here. Dr. Bradley, thank you so much for joining us here on CausePods today, a Mathew.

00:01:14.290 – Speaker 3
Thanks for having me. And please feel free to call me Stephen.

00:01:17.020 – Speaker 2
I will in future references, but I think you have earned that title of doctor. And so I think I have to at least the first time, throw it your way. So, Stephen, did you always want to be a doctor? Like did you know as a kid you wanted to go into the medical profession or how did you kind of find yourself where you are today?

00:01:37.690 – Speaker 3
You know, I had no idea as a kid that I wanted to be a physician. I’m a Navy brat. My dad was in the Navy and I wanted to follow his footsteps into the military and I wanted to be a pilot. Then my eyes went bad and I wanted to be a chaplain and ultimately ended up going to Bible College. I was there as a music major and after the first year, I realized that this really wasn’t the right path for me.

00:02:03.910 – Speaker 3
I got some experience in a hospital setting and was very intrigued by the thought of becoming a physician and just kind of took a leap of faith going into my sophomore year of college.

00:02:15.370 – Speaker 2
So we before we had record, I was asking you, you know, you’re in Norfolk, which is famous for naval institutions, and now it makes sense why you have a contract with the Navy and you are right working with them. What we’re I’m curious because you do the Black Doctors podcast, then we are going to get into that in just a moment. But I’m sure you yourself had some hurdles or challenges going through the medical world, getting to where you are today.

00:02:42.370 – Speaker 2
What were some of the things that you faced in your career path to where you are now?

00:02:47.740 – Speaker 3
Yeah, looking back and we now have a term for it or a diagnosis of imposter syndrome. It’s kind of more prevalent now, but feeling that I didn’t belong along the way because typically people know or the thought is that people know since they were kids that they wanted to be physicians. So being somebody that switched later in life, I always struggled with that because I felt like I was behind all of my peers. I also didn’t have much in the way of mentorship or guidance.

00:03:16.150 – Speaker 3
My family, nobody else is in the health care field. My parents were first generation college students, so I felt like I was really navigating the process alone for most of the time, especially in the beginning. Fortunately, along the way, I found peers and mentors that were able to help me be successful and get to where I am today.

00:03:35.290 – Speaker 2
There has been a lot of talk recently given the news about the state of the world, the state of equality. You know, I hear news stories all the time about, as you know, people of color go in for medical treatments. They are often treated differently. Right. They might not be taken as seriously or, you know, they might not be given the same level of treatment that they deserve versus their white counterparts. Is that true as well as the doctor is a medical professional.

00:04:01.420 – Speaker 2
Do you find that you had certain racial walls in doing your job and in advancing in the medical field?

00:04:10.480 – Speaker 3
That can definitely be true for health care professionals. I think the biggest thing that’s affected me directly is the uncertainty. So when I face an adverse event or appear that’s not quite as collegial, trying to figure out why is this interaction going so poorly? Is it a deficiency on my part? Is it a deficiency on their part? Is it racism? And having to go through a differential diagnosis is what we do in medicine all the time is differential diagnosis trying to figure out where this relationship went south, messages from a peer to peer perspective.

00:04:45.010 – Speaker 3
When you extrapolate that over patient interactions and ask is this patient not getting the appropriate care because the physician or health care provider has a lapse in judgment or knowledge or maybe they’re just a little rusty and dated in their practice? Or is it some internal bias or prejudice at play here?

00:05:06.860 – Speaker 2
I guess that begs the next question, which is, do you yourself and because you’re an anesthesiologist, I suppose you don’t have quite the same interactions as a general practice doctor. You know, our family doctor, internal specialists who we go and we visit with. Right. My assumption, based on my little knowledge of medicine and what I’ve had to do is I go in for a procedure at the last couple of minutes. They say, here’s the anesthesiologist or maybe I get a quick consultation.

00:05:33.980 – Speaker 2
But do you ever face what feels like any prejudice or hesitation from patients when they see a medical professional of color come into to the room?

00:05:45.230 – Speaker 3
Yeah, absolutely. And especially in residency, that look of shock when patients realize that, oh, you’re the resident is providing the care for me or even today, it happens probably once every one to two weeks where I have a patient who says that, look, this kind of distrustful or they’re looking at my resident and expecting that they’re the person involved and in charge of their care. And I think with anesthesia, we don’t have that longitudinal patient relationship that other specialties have, but we actually have it in more of a truncated fashion where in ten minutes before you go off to get put to sleep and have surgery, one of the most vulnerable states of your life, in 10 minutes, I have to gain your trust and discuss the risk benefits of this incredibly invasive procedure you’re going to have and how I’m going to keep you safe and comfortable.

00:06:40.460 – Speaker 3
And it’s a large task. But what that over the years I feel like I’ve been comfortable and and getting better at. But, yeah, it does happen. It’s just something that I have to work at overcoming with the job, get used to those difficult conversations.

00:06:55.610 – Speaker 2
Well, one thing I would disagree is I don’t think the onus should be entirely on you. You know, I think population also has to do a better job of not having that initial reaction. But we all have, as you stated earlier, we all have certain biases, conscious or unconscious, that we deal with on a daily basis, and especially in medicine without putting words in your mouth. Is that part of what led to the Black Doctors podcast, or were there other things that made you want to go down this journey and, you know, tell some of these stories?

00:07:28.840 – Speaker 3
Absolutely, so the two things I think that inspired me the most, well, three, if you count Dr. NII Darko and his persuasion and me starting a podcast, one, I want it to increase diversity in the health care professions. I wanted to reach out to students like myself that didn’t have much mentorship or guidance and don’t know what an anesthesiologist does from day to day or a trauma surgeon and give them that connection that they can actually figure out what would I be doing as a physician.

00:07:57.160 – Speaker 3
And that’s that’s the biggest thing. You know, fewer than six percent of physicians in this country are black, compared with about 13 to 16 percent of the population. So trying to bridge that gap was a large part. The second thing was to say, hey, these experiences that you’re having, you’re not alone. These physicians that have been in practice for 10 years, for 15 years, for 20 years, they’re facing similar things from day to day.

00:08:23.650 – Speaker 3
They faced very similar challenges when they were in your shoes.

00:08:28.650 – Speaker 2
So let’s talk a little bit more about the podcast you mentioned Dr. NII Darko, he was recently a guest here on CausePods, and we know about his work both in the medical profession, but also in guiding doctors to want to start media content creation, podcasting. What were some of the big challenges you faced right at the get go, even in the decision of whether or not to start this podcast?

00:08:51.630 – Speaker 3
Yeah, I remember it like it was yesterday. Well, it was almost yesterday, a year ago, Dr. Darko. He put out a social media post by every physician. Should have a podcast. Right. So very bluntly worded in my. I don’t believe that. Let me take a look and scroll through this. And he talked about building the audience and having reach. And initially my thoughts were, well, everybody’s starting podcast these days. I pride myself in trying to be original.

00:09:19.350 – Speaker 3
I guess everybody does. It’s a very unoriginal of everyone. But I said, you know, he’s already he’s a black doctor. He has a podcast. The world doesn’t need a second one. But after reading his post, that really inspired me to at least consider it. So I went to YouTube. I Googled a bunch of resources and just learned about what it takes to start a podcast, RSS feeds. And I couple that with my background in music.

00:09:44.310 – Speaker 3
So I played music since I was a kid. I play, I think, five instruments and I dabble in recording and audio engineering. So I downloaded logic projects and I’ve been figuring out how to mix and master music. So I figured, OK, this will be cool. I can edit my own audio now. I set the reach out to guests, so I really just kind of approach it almost like a classroom project where what do I need to do to start, what’s the best way to do marketing?

00:10:11.520 – Speaker 3
And was able to put together kind of a nice little product, if you will, in June of twenty twenty.

00:10:18.520 – Speaker 2
So like I said, been just about a year. And so given your background and given some of the guidance, I guess I’m a little bit more curious about the content strategy. Right. What was it like? How did that come about? Did you know right away this is what I’m going to do and you know, you’re off to the races with it, or did you kind of fumble through in the beginning and then slowly but surely kind of find your voice, find the path you want to take and take it from there?

00:10:49.380 – Speaker 3
Yeah, it’s a great question. And through the research and figuring out how to come up with the podcast name, I came up with the Black Ideas podcast. Everything I read said to be specific. And I was like, well, it doesn’t get more specific than this. Once I had the name essentially that kind of played everything else or everything else was laid out. And I wanted to focus especially on the non med influencers, quote unquote. You see people with huge followings on Twitter and social media.

00:11:19.680 – Speaker 3
And I really wanted to look at people like myself that aren’t necessarily famous, if you will, that are just out there doing life, practicing as physicians in different specialties. And I just wanted regular people because everybody has a story to tell and I wanted those stories to be out there. We can’t all be the mega influencers, but we can all aspire to be competent clinicians and health care. So once I had the name, I knew what type of guest that I would be bringing on.

00:11:49.980 – Speaker 3
I decided to alternate every week I put out an episode. One is a male position. The next week will be a woman physician. I just go back and forth because both of those markets are people that need inspiration and that’s how it has progressed.

00:12:06.780 – Speaker 2
I’m curious now about the response both from the people who you’ve had the chance to talk to, but as well as the community as a whole. Your listeners. Do you have you gotten a ton of feedback? Have you seen the benefits of what you’ve been doing? Have you seen, you know, where it’s made a difference for some people? Are there any stories that stick out to you for, you know, the impact that you’ve had?

00:12:30.390 – Speaker 3
Absolutely, so the response is probably the biggest thing that keeps me going, I think when I started podcasting, I was like, I’ll be the next Joe Rogan. I’m going to make a ton of money off of this. It’s going to be great. And probably after that first like. A month before I’d even launched, I realized that the money probably isn’t going to be there. This is a lot of work and I’ve switched back and forth between just filling a need that needs to be filled in and just focusing on the mission as opposed to focusing on the finances.

00:13:00.640 – Speaker 3
And that kind of revolutionized my approach to the podcast. And in terms of the response, you know, every couple of weeks when I may be tired of editing this podcast or stress, I need to get this episode out at different points in time. I’ll look at some of the feedback or I’ll get a message on Instagram or Twitter. And just a random student says, hey, thanks so much for doing this, because I really got some value from that episode.

00:13:28.090 – Speaker 3
I know to be a radiologist now. And that feedback honestly has paid off dividends over what I thought would have been a financial incentive. That’s what keeps me going. And in terms of specific situations, to celebrate our first year on air, I hosted a scholarship. You know, I see other shows do that. So I remember when I was a medical student, I would have loved to have just one hundred bucks randomly given to me that I could use because you have to pay for board exams and supplies that these board exams are eight hundred dollars or two thousands of dollars.

00:14:02.560 – Speaker 3
Right. And you’re doing this off of your student loans. So if the budget X amount of money at the beginning of the year to pay for a test, which is ridiculous. So I say let me just try to be helpful in more ways than one quote unquote, giving value through the podcast. Let me add some financial value to that. So for ten students, all I had to do was leave a comment on the show and they would be entered into a raffle.

00:14:30.760 – Speaker 3
So I was able to give out ten hundred dollar scholarships. My buddy Tilo Brownie’s an emergency medicine physician. He actually partnered with me to help provide the capital. You know, I put this out there, I advertise it for the month. I get some hits. And right as it was wrapping up, my buddy Wallas, he’s a dermatologist in Atlanta. He sent me a picture. He was sitting with one of his mentees at lunch and he’s like, Hey.

00:14:56.340 – Speaker 3
My buddy just told me, here he is, he won your hundred dollar scholarship, he’s going to use that for his applications to medical school. So that was a full circle moment where I realized once again that this was really out there helping people.

00:15:09.810 – Speaker 2
I love how you found what seems like more success, more fulfillment when you were mission focused than not revenue focused. I think that’s something that so many not just cause podcasters, but just podcasters in general struggle with. Right. There’s some somebody put out some marketing material that made it sound like, oh, this is a you know, a goldmine. The best team out there is like, no, it’s really not. Most of you are not going to make any money doing this.

00:15:37.980 – Speaker 2
And just the fact that you saw that and experience that transition and felt the gratification of the mission over the money seems like it’s driving you and helping you to do better. I think I asked Dr. Darko about this, but I’m going to have to ask you as well, like most podcasts struggle with their time and putting out a podcast, and they’re not doctors who already have. Right. Who already struggle with time management and who are pretty damn busy.

00:16:06.830 – Speaker 2
All right. You were telling me that you came off a shift at 3:00 a.m. this morning, you know, before our call. So how do you find the time and is there advice for other people to help them with that?

00:16:16.860 – Speaker 3
Yeah, that’s that has been a struggle, especially in the beginning with my fiancee. She wasn’t super happy about all the time that invested it into this new hobby. Fortunately, I looked at a couple of YouTube videos on how to edit podcast in that really cut my editing time in half. So for my episodes I record for forty five minutes straight. I typically don’t cut any of the content out because there’s always something for somebody. Obviously I edit some vocal clutter, protect patient privacy if there’s any stories that are shared.

00:16:52.080 – Speaker 3
But I generally just let all of the content stay in the episode and just, just give it a light edit. And so for about an hour long recording session, it takes me an hour to an hour and 20 minutes to edit that audio and get it posted. And I’ve been able to streamline some of the media processes every now and then. I do lag in terms of promoting the podcast, but I have been able to put an episode out every Monday for the last, I think, eight months in a row consecutively.

00:17:23.610 – Speaker 3
So I’m happy about that.

00:17:25.020 – Speaker 2
Hats off to you on that. I mean, just that kind of consistency is impressive. I can’t even manage that kind of consistency on this show. So I salute you, sir, for the effort that you’re putting in and for the discipline that you have to get that done. And as far as editing time, you know, that’s fantastic. Definitely. We usually tell people it’s about two to three X, whatever your raw audio is. So the fact that you have it down to such a science, listen to the show.

00:17:49.080 – Speaker 2
And maybe it sounds like it was edited in an hour.

00:17:54.360 – Speaker 2
Well, but it sounds like you’re having a big impact. And I think that’s what definitely is going to matter most. So you mentioned, you know, these young doctors that the expenses of being a doctor, the things that pop up right. Like the tests that are they might not be ridiculously priced. They sound ridiculously priced to someone like myself who doesn’t understand the world. But as part of your appearance here, you also want to talk about young doctors DC.

00:18:21.390 – Speaker 2
This is a nonprofit out of Washington, DC You can learn more about it. Young Doctors, DC dot org. But tell us a little bit about the charity itself and your connection to them and what they do. Yeah, so Young Docs DC is a charity organization. It was started in part by my buddy Brant Stephens. He is an orthopedic surgeon. He trained at Howard University College of Medicine, both for medical school and residency. That’s how we first crossed paths.

00:18:47.820 – Speaker 2
And he was several years ahead of me. By the time I got to medical school and coming out of medical school, I knew that he’d helped start this organization. And what it does is take what this nonprofit does is, is reach out to some of the urban youth in DC, young black men, and it takes them in for the summer. It gives them exposure to the health care setting. They have lectures on anatomy and physiology and what it’s like to be a physician and social determinants of health, all those things that are affecting their communities, what high blood pressure means and how it affects their parents.

00:19:21.690 – Speaker 2
This program also provides some mentorship and takes them on college trips so they can be exposed to higher education and know that there’s something more beyond just graduated from high school. They can be more. And I think the thing that stuck out for me was knowing my buddy Brant. Yes, he was a surgeon, but he chose to take that spare time and volunteer and work with this organization, and I thought to myself, well, if he can do that, then I can, too.

00:19:51.260 – Speaker 2
You don’t have to be a superhero to give back. You just have to at some point realize and decide that I want to make a difference. So over the couple of years, I’ve kind of watched the progress that they’ve made. They have a signing day when their students are accepted to college. And in 2019, I think it was before the pandemic, I was able to go to their annual kind of banquet. And actually I actually had enough money to financially participate and donate, which for me was a milestone because I was just one year into being an attending and actually getting a salary.

00:20:27.020 – Speaker 2
So it was nice for me to be full circle and to see what a group of human beings actually care about the community can do.

00:20:34.580 – Speaker 2
It sounds like a fantastic organization. Again, its young doctors, D.C. dot org. I know you’re in Norfolk, which isn’t exactly D.C. metro market, but are you from there originally? Is that part of the connection?

00:20:48.830 – Speaker 3
Yeah, I went to medical school at Howard University in Washington, D.C. before we let you go. And I think most of the things that you’ve said have already provided very valuable advice to anybody who is listening. But just for anybody out there, whether they’re medical professional, thinking about a podcast or someone who just has a cause that they’re passionate about, thinking about a podcast and wanting to spread the word or help their community or whatever it is they want to do.

00:21:18.170 – Speaker 3
Any advice that you would give to somebody out there hearing this and thinking, I have a voice, too, and it could be heard?

00:21:23.960 – Speaker 3
I think the phrase that sticks out to me is done is better than perfect. You just need to start, we have everything at our fingertips with YouTube you can edit out or you can farm out the editing for your podcast. There’s something you’re not comfortable with. You can learn how to edit and probably an hour or two hours of watching YouTube videos and Googling information find whatever it is you’re passionate about and just use this forum to have a voice. I think, you know, we get it in our head that it’s a bigger deal than it actually is.

00:21:55.760 – Speaker 3
And really, it’s just anybody with a microphone can use this platform. So I encourage folks to at least give it a shot, give it a try and see if you like it.

00:22:04.190 – Speaker 2
Love that piece of advice. Once again, Dr. Steven Bradley, the Black Doctors podcast. You can find him at the Black Doctor’s podcast, ARCOM Link to that website, his show on Apple, Google, Spotify and social media. Here in the show notes for this episode. And again, please check out young doctors, D.C. dot org to help those youth who are trying to become doctors who need the help that they deserve so they can help all the rest of us.

00:22:30.980 – Speaker 2
Dr. Bradley, Steven, thank you so much for joining us here on CausePods today.

00:22:35.210 – Speaker 3
Mathew, thanks so much for having me.

00:22:37.670 – Speaker 1
Thanks for listening to this episode of CausePods. If you’ve been inspired by the work of our guest, please check out the show notes of this episode in your podcasting app or at There you will find links to their show, their website, their podcast, links on Apple, Google, Spotify, as well as a link to support the charity that they highlighted here. In this episode. You will also find a boet to subscribe to this show on your favorite podcasting app, How to sign up to be a guest on this show and a link to our Facebook group, which is going to have special resources just for the folks who are podcasting for a good cause.

00:23:14.270 – Speaker 1
And I can tell you right now, we’ve got one great deal from our friends, a pod page. But you’re only going to learn about it and get that special deal if you are a member of the Facebook group for CausePods.

00:23:23.210 – Speaker 1
And before I go, I should say thank you in particular. The show is edited and produced by Ben Killoy of the Military Veteran Dad podcast and what a great job he has done. And all this is made possible because of the great support that I received from Shannon Rojas here at the podcast. Consulted Dotcom once again. If you want to learn more, go to Thank you so much. And we will see you next time on CausePods.

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