As highlighted in our last blog, in preparation for our August conference, Bridging the Gap: Equipping Future Leaders in Healthcare, we are going to spend the next couple of weeks shining a spotlight on the many individuals currently making their way through the field. This week, we had the incredible opportunity to speak with Ore Oyewole and get an insider perspective on why she chose to pursue medicine.
Hello Ore, thank you so much for joining us today, could you please introduce yourself?
Hi my name is Ore, I am 24 years old, and I am in my first year of medical school!
Could you give us a brief rundown of your academic background?
I graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, as well as a minor in Spanish.
Where are you currently at and what are you currently working towards?
I am currently going to Unibe, which is a bilingual medical school in the Dominican Republic, and I am working towards graduating and becoming certified to practice medicine in both English and Spanish.
When did you first become interested in the field of healthcare, particularly in the field of medicine?
I’ve had an interest in psychology for as long as I can remember, and when I got to university, I quickly realized that psychiatry was what was really drawing me in. Obviously in order to become a psychiatrist, one must go to medical school, and that was basically the reason why I initially wanted to venture into the field of healthcare, particularly the field of medicine. However, I think what really solidified my interest in this journey was when my friend invited me on a volunteer trip to Peru for a medical outreach program.
A typical day as a volunteer in Peru consisted of one of two things, we would either go to a primary school in the rural area of Pachacutec or we would stay in the more local area called Buena Vista. In Pachacutec we would simply do a basic analysis on the eating habits of each student, as well as check their weight, height, vision, and teeth for any types of cavities. We would also go over basic hygienic rules with them and check their lungs, heart, and abdomen for abnormalities. In Buena Vista, our focus was mostly young adults. We would simply take each person’s weight and height to help calculate their BMIs, as well as their blood pressure and blood sugar levels. If any of these things were deemed abnormal, we would then advice them to see a doctor for more long term care or to have that monitored.
When I got back from this volunteer trip, I realized that I wanted to learn more Spanish and just really focus and spearhead myself into more Spanish speaking environments. I started doing language exchanges with people and I gradually took on a heavier course load that was Spanish based. Eventually, I was able to get a job at a Spanish speaking clinic, and I actually still work there. I’ve worked there for about two years and about 80% of our patient base is strictly Spanish speaking, so that really forced me to step out of my comfort zone, learn the language, and use it on a daily basis.
So yeah, I would say that this experience was the determining factor for me. I wanted to do medicine and I wanted to do it in Spanish.
What is a major obstacle that you’ve encountered in your journey so far?
The major obstacle that I have encountered and that I am still encountering is probably my language speaking ability. Although I am a strong Spanish speaker, I am not a native speaker. It is a level that I hope to obtain in the near future, but it is something that is not easily feasible, it takes time and practice. You’ve got to learn all these little nuances of the language, and I am just eager to just get there already. However, I know these things take time, and so it’s really just dependent on my ability to be patient.
What does diversity in healthcare mean to you?
To me diversity in healthcare means equal representation. That means that people who look like me, Black and female, need to be in rooms where important decisions are being made. Not only just Black females, but also people from different sexual orientations, cultural backgrounds, and religions. I believe that when we all have a say in the things that concern us, we can bring about real change, and the healthcare system can eventually gain the reform that it really needs.
We hope you enjoyed our interview with Ore Oyewole as much as we did and were able to gain some insight on what a journey through the field of healthcare can look like. To register for our upcoming conference and to learn more information, click here. What questions do you wish we’d asked? Post a comment below!
Together we can make an impact on the health of the nations and the generations to come.
The mission of WHEF is to increase accessibility to medications and supplies for healthcare facilities in Guatemala and Grenada. If you are interested in hearing more about the work we are doing, or in connecting with us, you can visit our website, check out our instagram or facebook, or sign up to receive our newletters. If you would like to support us in our work, please donate here.