Antonio and Mary Braithwaite

Antonio and Mary Braithwaite

When it comes to kids, the Braithwaites have them covered.

Antonio Braithwaite is a pediatric dentist who opened a private practice, Sanford Pediatric Dentistry, in rural Lee County because there was not a pediatric dentist within a four-county area. Mary Braithwaite is a pediatrician at Chapel Hill Pediatrics in Chapel Hill. Together, their work touches many lives early on and makes a lasting impression.

That’s just how the Carolina couple wants it.

“It’s very gratifying that our professions fit so well with our interests to not only help kids get a better, healthier start earlier in life, but also contribute to the goal of improving public health overall,” the couple says.

Between the two of them, the Braithwaites hold six degrees from UNC. They are busy with their thriving practice and their own family but they still find time to support and stay involved with Carolina.

“It’s so important for us to be involved in and support the areas and programs that helped us pursue our ambitions and realize our goals,” Mary Braithwaite says. “That’s really what drives our volunteerism as well as our philanthropy.”

The couple donates to areas in the Gillings School of Global Public Health and the schools of dentistry and medicine, specifically scholarships and programs that support and encourage underserved and underrepresented minorities in the pursuit of health-care education.

Both are alumni of UNC’s Science Enrichment Preparation Program (SEP), an eight-week, honors-level academic enrichment program for disadvantaged undergraduate students seeking admission into graduate/health professional programs

Antonio Braithwaite first became acquainted with SEP as an undergraduate ambassador and served as president of the group as a senior. He says that’s really when he began to consider a health-related field.

“I was a shy kid from the Queens-Brooklyn area with crooked teeth,” Antonio Braithwaite says. “Getting braces changed my life, boosted my self-esteem, helped me be more outgoing and opened the door to a career path that I hadn’t considered before. SEP is very much like that.”

For Mary Braithwaite, the program gave her the confidence to know she had what it took to get into medical school, be successful and graduate.

“There certainly were no physicians in my family and I hadn’t really seen the practical, hands-on side of the profession,” Mary Braithwaite says. “SEP brought the academic rigor and the practical introduction to the field that really paints a much clearer picture of what it’s really like.”

Published February 11, 2013.

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