Alumni Profile: Airron Richardson, MD, MBA, FACEP
Career inspired by early influence
Airron Richardson, MD’05, MBA’05, attended the University of Michigan on an athletic scholarship, came to the School of Medicine after a stint on the U.S. wrestling team, then capped his University of Chicago residency training in emergency medicine with a sports medicine fellowship at Duke.
Today, as a clinician and teacher at Methodist Hospitals in northwest Indiana, Richardson remains a devoted athlete whose interest in sports medicine finds application within the broader context of emergency medicine. His continued devotion to athletics isn’t the only example of Richardson’s present trajectory appearing to trace directly back to his student years.
While in medical school he earned an MBA from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Today he’s one of three founding partners of Premier Urgent Care & OCC-Health Center, thought to be the first African American-owned comprehensive urgent care facility in Chicago.
As a student and trainee he pursued a first-class education at leading U.S. universities in five states. He’s a proud recipient of medical teaching awards and a member of the board of the Vanderbilt Medical Alumni Association. As a volunteer working to stem youth violence in the Chicago community, Richardson reaches out to young people in city schools. This community outreach work is through Project Outreach and Prevention on Youth Violence (POP); Richardson and his business partners are benefactors of POP and Richardson is a member of its board.
Asked about the rewards of his work as an emergency medicine specialist, Richardson replies, “Any time I can use my knowledge and skills, developed from years of hard work and shaped by so many great teachers during my journey, it is always deeply gratifying. And during moments when the ED pace slows, I enjoy having the extra time to educate patients about their health care and encourage them to create better habits.”
His work also provides more subtle satisfaction.
“I still occasionally see patients who are surprised to have a black physician caring for them. I feel on some level I’m helping inspire young kids who are not sure what they may want to do for a career and perhaps may see themselves in me and start to think about a career in a health profession.”
Richardson set his sights on medicine quite early.
“I was inspired to become a physician when an African American surgeon spoke to my seventh-grade classroom on career day. I didn’t know exactly what it would involve, but Dr. Benjamin Butler lit a fire for me to learn more about it. I’m living proof that talking to children and showing them myriad possibilities early can significantly change the trajectory of their lives.”