Dr. Jenna Lester comes from a family of African American women who have dedicated their lives to medicine. Her grandmother, Ruby Brangman, became a nurse practitioner during the 1970s. At that time, Ruby was one of the first black women in her profession in New York state.

A generation later, Jenna’s mother, Sharon Brangman, became a doctor. Sharon says it was her own mother’s determination that set her on that path.


At StoryCorps in New York City, Jenna and Sharon sat down to reflect on their family’s legacy.

Top photo: Sharon Brangman and Jenna Lester at their StoryCorps interview in New York City.
Bottom photo: Sharon Brangman, Ruby Brangman, and Jenna Lester in 1988, when Jenna was three months old. Courtesy of the Brangman family.

Originally aired January 26, 2018, on NPR’s Morning Edition.