Year of Graduation: 2011
School: College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College
Luwam Ghidei (SAR 2011), soon to be Dr. Ghidei, is incredibly accomplished, yet quite unassuming. We checked in with Luwam, a fourth year medical student at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, to learn about where she’s headed next.
Who are you?
I’m a 25-year-old feminist living in my hometown of Dallas, Texas. I love mentoring students who come from similar backgrounds to mine. I spend my time outside of school running, chatting up old friends, traveling, and getting active in the community.
The year after you graduated, almost all of the new HER House residents found out about the House through you. How do you describe the HER House to others?
Wow, that is so exciting to hear. I remember I wasn’t even on our official “Public Relations” committee, but I was so in love with the concept of the HER House that I obviously couldn’t stop talking about it. I used to tell any women who would listen that I live in the coolest house on campus. It’s a wonderful way to meet passionate women and build a family within campus. Not to mention, the house happens to be a gorgeous, meticulously designed mansion in which you pay what seems like pennies to live in!
Why did you decide to become a Doctor?
I grew up with some pretty horrific experiences at the doctor’s office. I watched my mom’s chronic pain be discounted without even a single question at times. I also watched healthcare workers rely on stereotypes of African American women to misdiagnose my oldest sister as she devastatingly suffered from a serious illness. Growing up in a poor neighborhood, I never thought a career in medicine was within reach – I didn’t know anyone who had successfully navigated the system. Once I got to college and realized I had a unique passion for physiology and health, I loved the idea of using my education to serve and heal others. I did my best to join pre-medical organizations, attend medical conferences, and find mentors in the medical community who could encourage me while filling in the informational gaps.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to go to medical school?
The entire process is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be many, many nights devoted to studying while it seems like everyone else is out having fun. But if you are truly passionate about becoming a doctor, it is definitely worth it! If I had to do medical school all over again, I would in a heart beat! It’s amazing how much trust patients have in you, and that trust will drive you to aspire to become the best physician you can possible be. If you want a faster track in the health care field -consider becoming a highly esteemed Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, CRNA, Pharmacist, etc. These professions make great money and go through substantially less schooling.
If you could change one thing about the medical school admission process, what would it be?
One thing I would change is the concept of secondary applications. I believe secondary essays were first established to help narrow the amount of candidates each institution wanted to interview. However, as time passed, medical schools started sending out secondary applications without even screening first. Keep in mind, each secondary costs about $60-$80 in addition to the primary application costs. It’s hard to argue that schools are not only sending these out to generate more revenue.
What are you most looking forward to as you start your residency?
I am currently a fourth (and final) year medical student, and I am excited to report I successfully “matched” into a residency position! Match Day is an annual, nation-wide event during the 3rd week of March when every medical student finds out where they will do their residency. I will train to become an Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Brown Women and Infant’s Hospital in Rhode Island! The first year of residency is referred to as an internship. I am looking forward to a sharp learning curve, a new experience, and gaining more confidence as I become more and more independent in my practice.
We wish you all the best in your residency, Luwam!