It’s always a heartfelt moment when you experience someone turning their childhood dreams into reality. For Dr. Ebony Hilton, growing up in a single-parent household, even in her wildest dream she was unsure if she could become a doctor. As the first black female anesthesiologist at the Medical University of South Carolina, she has now made it her duty to teach young girls to pursue their passions.

GLOSS, an acronym for Girls Loving OurSelves Successfully, is a mentorship program that ‘helps young girls feel connected and confident amid the blur of adolescence.’ It aims to empower middle school girls as they deal with the stresses of peer pressure, family life and academics. As the girls go through different activities with their new mentors and loads of emotions, Dr. Hilton left the girls with one last piece of advice: “You should never feel like no one has your back or no one hears your voice.”

Photo: College of Charleston

In 2004, Dr. Ebony Hilton graduated magna cum laude from the College of Charleston as a triple major who studied biochemistry, molecular biology and inorganic chemistry. She went on to study and work at Medical University of South Carolina, where she graduated from medical school in 2008, completed a four-year residency and an intensive fellowship according to College of Charleston Magazine. In 2013, Dr. Hilton was hired as the first black female anesthesiologist at MUSC, a speciality she chose because it was an important and useful role in every part of the hospital.

Photo: College of Charleston

As a child, Dr. Ebony Hilton recalls one specific moment that opened her eyes towards the medical field. At just 8-years-old, she learned her mom had suffered the loss of a newborn boy just days after his birth. She then vowed to become a doctor so she could one day save babies like her little brother. From that day forward, her mother only addressed her as Dr. Hilton.

“I never once had a Plan B. I always knew it would work out … and that’s because someone believed in me,” Hilton shares that being called such an important title as a child meant everything to her. It was more than a name, it was a prophecy and a reminder to never let her family down.

Dr. Hilton takes that same inspiration and instills it within the GLOSS program, in hopes to inspire those girls and validate their dreams. She hopes to serve as an example to young black women that almost anything is possible with enough hard work no matter what your background is.

“You can’t look at your situation for what it is,” says Hilton, “but what you envision it can be.”