Infectious Disease Fellow, Columbia University Medical Center
Thesis Title: "My Blackness is the Beauty of This Land": African-American Culture and the Creation of the Black World in South Africa's Black Consciousness Movement (1969-1978)
What Now: Infectious Disease Fellow, Columbia University Medical Center
Follow Me: @oumgbako (Twitter)
I look back on my time as a concentrator in History & Literature with gratitude. In every class I took during my time in History & Literature, my professors encouraged me to place myself in a different historical period and ask myself why writers made specific choices in their work. This fidelity to context and commitment to the idea of every text being a reflection of a historical moment applies directly to the study of medicine. Becoming a good doctor requires the ability to look beyond a patient's illness and understand the full context of his or her condition. It also requires one to understand how a patient's ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, and personal history shape the progression of their illness. The History & Literature faculty fostered an environment where innovation and inquiry drove excellence. In medicine, I have witnessed firsthand the need for innovative thinking to widen the possibilities of healthcare delivery and the importance of inquiry to continually reshape and refine the field. History & Literature allowed me to create my own combined field of Africa and America, and encouraged me to travel the world in order to discover untold narratives at the intersection of African and American culture. This experience has defined my approach to my medical career. I received my MD from UPenn and completed an internal medicine residency and chief residency at NYU. As a physician, my career focus has been in HIV and health disparities particularly as it pertains to racial and sexual minorities, and I continue to use the lessons I acquired as a concentrator to help my patients and impact communities throughout the world.
• "The Unicorn" in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association (January 15, 2019)