I was born in Nigeria (where my name in the Igbo language means "God is beautiful") and I grew up in England.
After attending the University of London, I worked in the banking industry both in London and in New York for a few years as an investment analyst. Dissatisfaction with that job led me to volunteer at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan and ultimately to the decision to pursue a career in medicine. That included two years of pre-med courses at Washington University in St. Louis, then medical school at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
I interviewed with many internal medicine residency programs, but what stood out to me at Yale-New Haven was the people. After chatting with the program director and several residents, I knew I could fit in here. I was immediately embraced and made to feel comfortable — and they weren't just putting on a show, because since I've been here that hasn't changed.
There are so many world-renowned physicians here. I'm always amazed when I meet them in person with how down-to-earth they are and how much they care about their patients. I remember when I was in the Klatskin (liver) service, there was an attending who was an incredibly caring woman. She was intensely advocating for a liver-transplant patient among a group of considerably older and very well-known physicians. It blew me away. Her story is not the exception at Yale-New Haven. I've met so many great faculty, who are not only very intelligent but also have big hearts. Within a few minutes of meeting them, you know they're genuinely caring folks.
One way I've been able to deal with emotional stressors of being a physician is by writing poetry and performing spoken word about the art of medicine. It started as a way for me to cope with some of the incredibly touching and very human events that I see in my work. In fact, I presented some of the poems as a video montage at the Examined Life Conference held annually at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.