Picture this: you are in the hospital, waiting to learn the results of a slew of tests and what sort of treatment schedule you will have to endure. Fear and anxiety creep in as your mind begins to wander and as you try to calm yourself in walks a young doctor. How can someone so young know enough to deliver this news?
All your worries quickly ebb away as he begins to speak with intelligence and assurance about your diagnosis and how you will be able to get through it gracefully. You just met Oriyomi Alimi – or Yomi, as he likes to be called – and the secret to his preparation is twofold: not only is he attending Yale Medical School, considered by many to be the best medical school in the country, but he is, himself, a cancer survivor and knows what it is like to be on the receiving end of a difficult diagnosis.
Many Cancer for College recipients are so impacted by the care they receive when they are being treated for cancer that they decide to go into the medical field (or it solidifies a decision they already considered). Yomi is so close to realizing his dream of becoming a doctor that he replaced all of his clothes with scrubs out of sheer excitement! Okay, I might have made that up, but Yomi is already practicing some medicine and involved in phenomenal research, so my statement may not be so much of a stretch.
Enough introduction! I got to ask Yomi a few questions about how his studies at Yale are going thus far. Take a gander below, especially anyone who wonders what it is like to prepare to enter the medical field.
How you are enjoying your time at Yale?
The body of knowledge that must be mastered to become a good doctor is enormous. Yale School of Medicine recently changed the curriculum from 2 years pre-clinical to 18 months pre-clinical. Despite the hiccups that come with transitioning to a new more condensed curriculum, I’ve enjoyed every content block. My favorite so far was the Attacks and Defenses course that covered immunology and infectious diseases. What makes school even more enjoyable are the wonderful and brilliant classmates with whom I get to share the experience.
What was the most memorable part about last semester?
The first week of medical school at Yale I was able to spend time on the floor of a medical ICU. For some people, ICUs can be horribly depressing places- people are sick and some of them won’t make it home. What I saw in that ICU team of doctors and other allied health professions was amazing. Their knowledgeable and compassionate care along with the will to uphold patient’s dignity in the face of severe illness continues to remind me why I came back to school to become a doctor. The best parts of last semester were the opportunities I got to spend time with patients in the wards.
Do you already have a track you would like to specialize in as a doctor?
To answer your question – I have no idea what I want to specialize in yet. Let me expand upon the first question you asked by adding another one of the best parts about medical school at Yale is the opportunity to discover. Discover new things about myself, discover new things about how the world and the human body works, and to explore the myriad of specialties within the tent of medicine. I’ve taken a left brain approach to condensing the options by keeping a running checklist of pros and cons of different specialties. I am also keeping myself open to falling in love with a particular area of practice. Hematology/Oncology, Anesthesiology, Diagnostic Radiology/Interventional Radiology, Pathology, Cardiology, and Gastroenterology are top considerations in my differential.
How is your health?
February 14th was my 5 year anniversary since my diagnosis in 2011. As of my last follow up this past Monday there is no evidence of recurrence! Every day continues to be a blessing and I thank my family and friends for their support.
What are some upcoming plans/events (e.g. internship, trips, study abroad, research, jobs, etc.)?
I just passed my pharmacy law exam for Connecticut last week! I started working at Yale New Haven Hospital in December as a clinical pharmacist on a per diem bases under a temporary license. This summer I will continue to work as a fully licensed clinical pharmacist per diem while working on research with a terrific faculty mentor in the nephrology department. To supplement my nephrology research experience I will be traveling to Erlangen, Germany for the TRENAL summer school. TRENAL is a collaborative network between Yale, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), University College of London, and the Max-Plank Institute for Physics and Light to promote translation kidney research.
What great news, Yomi! Not only are you taking full advantage of the academic challenges that Yale offers,but you are doing so cancer free! You are well on your way to a magnificent life filled with great purpose.
We are so thankful that there are people like Cancer for College recipient, Yomi Alimi, who make up the bright future of medicine.To find out how you can make a difference in the lives of young cancer survivors, please visit cancerforcollege.org.