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Chidinma Chima-Okereke

2nd Year, Internal Medicine

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.