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Black History Month Spotlight: Dr. LaQuatre Rhodes is Passionate About her Pediatric Gastroenterology Patients

“Children are just pure joy,” LaQuatre Rhodes, D.O. said, “and when they're sick, you want to make them well. And when they're doing well, it's a rewarding, humbling feeling.”


As we celebrate Black History Month in February, Cook Children’s wants to salute Dr. Rhodes and everyone who brings diverse representation and voices of advocacy to health care.

Story by Jean Yaeger. Video by Tom Riehm.

When she was an elementary school student, LaQuatre Rhodes, D.O. had a passion for science projects and a big goal: to become a doctor.

“Your experience at the pediatrician's office is one that either excites you as a kid or makes you nervous,” said Dr. Rhodes, pediatric gastroenterologist. “I would be excited because I knew I was probably going to get a little treat, and I liked all the things that were happening there.” Dr. Rhodes

That same enthusiasm carries over these days in her practice at Cook Children’s Specialty Clinics in Prosper. As she treats children and teens who have GI issues - diseases and disorders of the digestive system – Dr. Rhodes provides medical expertise and an example for aspiring physicians. She often notices a special look of recognition and wonders on the faces of her Black patients when they meet her in the exam room. Feeling at ease, those patients will approach her in very close contact.

“It’s just the exposure. It’s a joy and humbling to know that seeing someone who looks like you makes you feel more comfortable,” she said. “Some of them will let me know that they want to be a doctor. Seeing me definitely helps to put that in reality for them.”

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), about 5% of physicians in the United States identify as Black or African American, like Dr. Rhodes. That proportion could increase as medical school demographics shift. The AAMC reports that 11.3% of students entering med school in 2021-2022 cited Black or African American race or ethnicity, up from 9.5% the previous year.

As we celebrate Black History Month in February, Cook Children’s wants to salute Dr. Rhodes and everyone who brings diverse representation and voices of advocacy to health care.

“You can be the face of change you want to see by going into a field where you’re a minority,” said Dr. Rhodes, who never encountered a Black pediatrician growing up in Shreveport, La. “Having a seat at the table and more diversity is what changes the field and allows people to see things from a different lens.”

Path to her Goal

Science was Dr. Rhodes’ favorite subject, stemming early on from her participation in science fair competitions. One of her projects measured the effects of antacids (Rolaids, Tums etc.) on indigestion; as a fourth-grader, she already showed a preference for GI topics. Dr. Rhodes took Advanced Placement courses in high school. But academics wasn’t her only love … ballet, student council and sports also kept her busy. Dr. Rhodes1 study

Dr. Rhodes gives credit to her mother for modeling the core values of perseverance and hard work. Even though her mother was 18 when Dr. Rhodes was born, she was determined to achieve higher education. She was the first in the family to graduate from college and obtain a master’s degree.

“I was raised by a single mother who always instilled in me to reach for the stars, to be bold, be brave, and dare to be different,” Dr. Rhodes said. “Everything I learned, everything that has driven me to be very independent and focused, has come from her.”

She also volunteered at a free health care clinic where she saw the need for greater access to care. Her aspiration grew even stronger when she saw several slightly older Black acquaintances from her hometown enter medical school.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Baylor University and a master’s in biology from Louisiana Tech University. A summer program allowed her to shadow physicians, go to an anatomy lab, and preview other facets of medical careers.Dr. Rhodes and her mom

But the MCAT tripped her up. Dr. Rhodes took the medical college admission test three times before scoring high enough to submit an application. She cites the MCAT as her biggest hurdle. “Once I got in, I was able to soar” at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she earned her medical degree.

While on a clinical rotation at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Rhodes crossed paths with a pediatric resident named Anthony Anani, M.D. Fast forward several years, and Dr. Anani was medical director for Clinical Services at Cook Children’s Medical Center reaching out to Dr. Rhodes about job openings in Prosper. Dr. Rhodes joined Cook Children’s in August 2022 as Dr. Anani’s colleague in pediatric gastroenterology.

Helping Sick Kids Get Better

Dr. Rhodes enjoys working with adults as well as children. But she decided to focus on pediatrics because of the resilience of children.

“Children are just pure joy,” she said, “and when they're sick, you want to make them well. And when they're doing well, it's a rewarding, humbling feeling.”

Her love for the human digestive system developed in part from research on the livers of rats that were fed various diets. The structure and function of the GI tract key parts – including the esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver and pancreas – fascinate Dr. Rhodes.  As she puts it: “All roads end up leading to GI.”

Reflux and constipation are common concerns for the patients she sees. More complicated cases include inflammatory bowel disease, chronic liver disease, and unexplained vomiting/nausea and bleeding. Dr. Rhodes provides biopsies, endoscopies, colonoscopies and other services.Dr. Rhodes and her doctor friends

Finding Inspiration

Dr. Rhodes points to Dr. Rebecca Crumpler as a health care pioneer for her achievement in 1864 as the first Black female physician in the United States. Dr. Rhodes predicts the physician workforce will continue to become more diverse. Cognizant of the opportunity to influence future doctors, she makes herself available to young people seeking reassurance about medical school.

One of Dr. Rhodes’ favorite quotes embodies her philosophy of pursuing your goal even in the midst of challenges: "Every dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." – Harriet Tubman

“That quote just really inspires and motivates you to want to be great and to dream big. It gives you the inspiration that it's possible, and to embrace things that come along the way.”

Cook Children's Pediatric Specialties Prosper


Cook Children’s Pediatric Specialties in Prosper is located at 4200 W. University Drive. Along with gastroenterology, the team in Prosper offers cardiology, endocrinology, neurology, plastic surgery, sports medicine, urology and other specialties. For appointments and referrals go to

Location | Cook Children's Pediatric Specialties Prosper (