Innovative Contributions to Medicine: Dr Kaylita Chantiluke - BHM Edition

During Black History Month, Melanin Medics have had the privilege of interviewing influential individuals who are doing extraordinary work for the black community, within the field of medicine. This week we had the pleasure of talking to Dr Kaylita Chantiluke: a paediatric registrar in Melbourne and the organisations lead of

Please kindly introduce yourself and what you do?

My name is Dr Kaylita Chantiluke and I’m currently a paediatric registrar in Melbourne, Australia. I am the organisations lead at @dftbskindeep, an initiative aimed to provide a free, open-access bank to photographs of medical conditions in the paediatric population in a range of skin tones; led by Don’t Forget The Bubbles (DFTB) and Royal London Hospital (RLH). I also have a blog with over 13,000 total views @musings_of_a_black_medic,

Tell me a bit more about your journey into medicine

I know it’s a bit cliché, but I’ve always wanted to do Medicine, and I’ve always wanted to be a paediatrician. I would say this stemmed from a drive that I’ve always had from primary school, and this was useful as it guided my GCSE and A-level choices. My mum is also a paediatric nurse, so I’d spend time on the wards with her and her colleagues, whenever my father, my sisters and I would pick her up at the end of her shift. Most children find hospitals scary, but I’ve always felt comfortable in the hospital environment.

I did pre-clinical Medicine and went onto study Medicine at the University of Oxford. It was here that I noticed that I was a woman of colour in a very white dominated space. After my preclinical years, I deferred the remainder of my degree to do a PhD in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, focusing mainly on neuroimaging, at King’s College London.

What inspired you to contribute to these initiatives/projects?

The Skin Deep project started as part of DFTB in 2020, by a team of paediatric emergency doctors in both Royal London Hospital and Sunshine Hospital in Australia. It is a global initiative with 300 images and over 20 submissions every day. I felt passionate about getting involved as I was astutely aware of the effects of racism in healthcare and the need for more diverse skin in medical educational resources. Skin Deep is a unique organisation as it focuses specifically on paediatric dermatological presentations. We are also fortunate enough to have links all over the world which enable us to include images of skin conditions and their presentations in a wide range of skin tones, including Indigenous Australians. My role is getting different organisations on board to support us and provide images e.g. Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health, British Association of Dermatologists, British Skin Foundation, Black Medical Society, Societi, the UK Kawasaki Disease Foundation, Eczema Association Australia and many more.

I started my blog in January 2020. I have always been creative from a literary point of view and I had lots of thoughts on various topics which I felt needed a creative outlet. I write on topics such as medicine, racism and feminism as well as their intersectionality. I’ve had over 13,000 collective views on my most popular blog posts “Why the Best Medical Students Make the Worst Doctors” and “Sorry, But I Want a White Doctor”.