At the conclusion of his undergraduate sophomore year at the University of South Florida, Dr. Kim Ohaegbulam came upon an advertisement for the Leaders In New Knowledge (LINK) program at Moffitt Cancer Center. It was through this program, Dr. Ohaegbulam had the opportunity to network, attend conferences (such as the annual Cancer Prevention and Control Conference), join career development workshops, and perfect his 2-minute elevator pitch. Today, Dr. Ohaegbulam has an MD, PhD and is currently in his residency in the Department of Radiation Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU).
He attributes a great deal of his professional success to LINK program mentors Dr. Cathy Meade, Dr. Scott Antonia, and Dr. Teresita Munoz-Antonia. "Those three individuals really wanted to ensure that whatever I wanted to do, they tried to find a way of making it possible for me," said Dr. Ohaegbulam. They accomplished this through multiple avenues. Whether it was securing extra funds for his gap year, putting him on additional projects and publications, bringing him to conferences, or introducing him to different spectrums of research, they made sure to afford him with a plethora of opportunities.
With their guidance and support, Dr. Ohaegbulam continued his professional journey and completed his medical degree at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Then, during the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, found himself in his intern year in Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell New York - where the virus was just beginning to hit. During his internship, he experienced what it was like to work on the frontlines of a global health pandemic, not something many interns had experienced. He and another intern, Adam Karp, MD, published an article entitled "Being Here Now" in the journal Chest about their time working in that atmosphere.
After completing his internship, he left New York and began his residency at OHSU. "Whenever you start something new, you’re trying to be as knowledgeable as possible and it’s important to become content with knowing it’s going to take time to grasp the info," said Dr. Ohaegbulam on the topic of his new position at OHSU. He explains that soaking up a lot of information in a considerably short amount of time can prove difficult when so much is being thrown at you, but it helps to have a supportive team like he does. "I enjoy the people I’m with. The chair of Radiation Medicine, Dr. Charles Thomas, is an innovator and an advocator for his residents. Everyone in the program has been great to work with, it’s just a phenomenal place," Dr. Ohaegbulam stated.
Dr. Ohaegbulam is always asking himself, "what else can I learn?" and he encourages current trainees to do the same. "Be curious. Never be content with where you are from an intellectual standpoint. There’s always room to grow so keep doing it," he said. He also advises trainees to be open-minded and remind them that narrow-minded thinking never leads to growth.
On a final note, Dr. Ohaegbulam wanted to thank Drs. Meade, Antonia, and Munoz-Antonia for their mentorship and support. He says, "I can’t repay you enough."