Dr. Dwayne Rollins, an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist of African-American descent, opened his busy practice in St. Albans, Queens, in 2006, and quickly set his goal to provide a new level of medical ENT care. Possibly the heart of his patient load comes from southeast Queens, a vast majority of whom are African-American or Caribbean. He enjoys a nice mix of patients, aged two through adulthood, bringing in loyal followers from his previous employment, their friends and family members, as his practice continues to grow.
In addition to being a medical doctor, Dr. Rollins is a board-certified, licensed Otolaryngologist [pronounced oh/toe/lair/in/goll/oh/jist], trained to medically treat and perform surgery to alleviate disorders of the head and neck areas. He performs in-office procedures on a routine basis, and has medical privileges at New York Hospital, Queens campus, and at Flushing Hospital.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Rollins was the youngest of nine children. His mother passed away when he was only one-year old, and his father worked two jobs, as a postal employee and a factory worker, to support the seven youngest children. He moved to Nebraska when he was 17 to live with his older sister and her family. After finishing high school, he attended the University of Nebraska, majoring in biology. Even as an undergrad, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in medicine.
Dr. Rollins had two interests, the ear-nose-throat specialty and surgery. While a medical student at Howard University College of Medicine (Washington, D.C.), he spoke to the dean about entering ENT training. When he was told that students don’t go directly from medical school to that specialty training, he became even more motivated. In the United States, otolaryngology is one of the most competitive specialties in medicine in which to obtain a residency position following medical school. Dr. Rollins became the first physician from his medical school to go directly into ENT training.
Otolaryngologists are medical doctors who complete at least five years of surgical residency training. Dr. Rollins interned in general surgery for one year at New York University School of Medicine, followed by four years of otolaryngology training, completing his residency in the School’s Department of Otolaryngology in 2003. He was the first African-American in the program, and received the highest scores in his residency class on the ENT in-service examinations. Dr. Rollins estimates that, currently, of some 10,000 ENTs in the United States, only 200 are Black Americans, although, he says, that number is rising. In New York, only 1 to 3% of ENT physicians are African-American.
Prior to starting his practice, Dr. Rollins worked for two-and-a-half years at ENT Associates in Flushing, a large practice of about 15 doctors at the time. During his second year there, he was the highest earning doctor in the group’s 31-year history and was offered a junior partnership on a graduated track. But Dr. Rollins had ideas of opening a private practice, which would allow him to make the decisions, rather than working for someone else. After saving enough money to begin a practice, he put together the basics—hiring a staff person, finding a location, and securing adequate insurance. He says it was a difficult time, and with a substantial salary cut when he went out on his own, he worked per diem in the Queens-Long Island Medical Group in order to make his plan succeed. After five years, his practice is succeeding and he looks forward to expanding the services he provides to his patients and bringing on an associate.
Even while leading the life of a hard-working, ambitious young physician, Dr. Rollins continues to follow his dream of giving back to the community. He volunteers at local health fairs and school programs. He thoroughly enjoys making visits to elementary schools, and likes to feel that he can motivate and inspire young people, explaining to them that he was “once in their shoes.” He volunteered for five years with the Clinical Society of Queens and Long Island, serving as treasurer and chairman of the scholarship committee. He is also a member of the prestigious medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha.
Dr. Rollins and his wife, who is Haitian, have three children, ages 6, 8 and 11 and live in Queens, NY. His philosophy in pursuit of a career was “to find a profession that he would be happy in for a long time.” Dr. Rollins admits that life on the way up is sometimes stressful, but he says the achievement is worth the wait. While his practice continues to grow, he says he can now enjoy more opportunities to spend time with his family.
Dr. Rollins adds that he was fortunate to always have the love and encouragement of his family, especially while he was attending medical school, fulfilling his residency, and starting his private practice. He acknowledges his father, although he is now passed away, as his biggest supporter and motivator. Like many African-American fathers who rise above adversity, Dr. Rollins credits his dad for accepting the struggle to raise seven children alone in a rough Baltimore neighborhood. He challenges the media portrayal of dead-beat African-American dads, saying it was not his experience.
# # #