Dr. James A. Watson (left) welcomes Dr. Tyrone Snipes as he joins the Watson Wellness Center. Photo by Gene Hazzard.
By Post Staff
Dr. Tyrone Snipes is the new Primary Care, Internal Medicine provider to the Oakland Community. Even though his work as a full time physician at the Watson Wellness Center is relatively novel he is well acquainted with the area he calls “home” because he was born in Oakland and attended Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist in West Oakland. His parents Tyrone Snipes and Karen Snipes helped to direct his paths toward community service by becoming a physician.
Now Dr. Snipes attributes his training to his belief in God and a strong network of family, friends and mentors.
He credits Dr. Mukerji, his pediatrician at Kaiser Hospital, for helping him cultivate a love for science and medicine. While in high school he focused on sports medicine after he suffered a series of personal injuries in Basketball, Baseball and Cross Country. With the help of his attending physicians Dr. Snipes developed an interest in sports medicine. He says his character was further shaped through programs such as Oakland Pals and the East Oakland Youth Development Center
It was during his service as President of the NAACP Youth Council that he says his life was deeply affected. He was tutored by William Patterson and Sonja Martin-Poole. The NAACP’s inspirational training program allowed him to travel across the country and see other African American youth striving to achieve excellence in academics, arts, and political activism. His counselors encouraged him to attend UC Berkeley where he entered the MESA, (Math, Engineering and Science Achievement) program at UC Berkeley.
Dr. Snipes used the vast amount of resources on his campus and surrounding community to confirm and develop his passion for medicine. During his freshman year he joined the sports medicine internship at UC; working with Track & Field, Football, and Gymnastics. He focused on injury prevention and rehabilitation.
Despite the excitement and fun he experienced sports medicine, his curiosity and thirst for knowledge drove him to pursue other internships as well. He worked with Dr. Joseph Clift, who Dr. Snipes recalls as being his pivotal influence in Internal medicine and Primary Care as a potential career.
“I was given a white coat and allowed to interview patients prior to them being seen by Dr. Clift. We then would see the patients together and discuss various topics in medicine. Words cannot describe how proud I was to be a part of Dr. Clift’s clinic. The experience with Dr. Clift was only the beginning of a long list of physicians who extended their support and guidance to me.”
After completing an undergraduate degree in Integrative Biology and Human Biodynamic with a minor in education, Dr. Snipes joined the RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) and a DOD (Department of Defense) program at SF State with Dr. Frank Bayliss. These programs helped him enter the post baccalaureate program at the University of California San Francisco Medical School, which enabled him to be accepted into medical school at Touro University in Mare Island.