L.A. AFRICAN: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
ADE OSINUBI: My name is Adeyewunmi Osinubi, which means I love the Crown of Salvation in Yoruba. Yes, my first name is a full sentence but are you really Nigerian if your name isn't that long?
I was born in New Haven, Connecticut while my mom was a Medical Resident at Yale University. At the tender age of three weeks, my parents moved me across state lines to New Jersey where I grew up until age 13. After that, I was "shipped off" to boarding school in Massachusetts.
After thankfully graduating from ~that school~ in one piece, I started attending Brown University in Providence, RI which was a breath of fresh air. Due to the guidance of my parents and my uncle, I applied to the 8 year Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) at Brown. I had about zero confidence that I would get into the program let alone Brown University itself. However, shoutout to our parents and family who believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. I am currently a first year Medical Student at the Brown Warren Alpert Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island.
From the age of 3, I always said that I wanted to be a physician. Part of it was wanting to follow in my mom's footsteps and another was constantly being exposed to the medical field. While in High School, I became very interested in African women's health after learning about female genital mutilation and obstetric fistula which is a devastating birth injury that is caused by prolonged and obstructed labor. While in high school, I co-founded the Iris Fistula Project which supports women who have suffered from obstetric fistula and helps them become safe motherhood advocates in their communities in Mekelle, Ethiopia. We raised more than $20,000 which has supported 10 women to become Safe Motherhood Ambassadors and 10 people to become midwives in rural communities. We also produced two documentaries that brought awareness about obstetric fistula.
My work with obstetric fistula, has inspired my goal of becoming an OB/GYN as a physician. Black maternal and infant mortality rates in the United States are extremely alarming and I hope to help improve those statistics as a Black healthcare professional.
Due to my interest in media and photography, I also hope to get involved with medical journalism to raise awareness about health disparities and the health system at large.
L.A. AFRICAN: What have been some challenges you've faced on your journey? What did you do to overcome them?
ADE OSINUBI: One of the biggest challenges I have faced on my journey has been growing up as a Black woman attending predominantly white schools. From the ages of 13-18, I attended a pretty much all white elite New England boarding school.
I was afforded many academic and extracurricular opportunities that have without a doubt shaped me into the person that I am. However, sometimes, the best place for you academically is not the best place for you socially or emotionally.
As a Black woman, I often felt very invisible but also hypervisible if that makes any sense. Colorism, desirability politics, etc is so real and it definitely took a toll on my self esteem and on my identity as a Black woman. However, my boarding school is just a microcosm of the real world and unfortunately perpetuates many of the problems that affect Black women in everyday life. As a early twenty something, I am working on healing from growing up in that environment and also encouraging other Black girls and women who school in similar environments.
L.A. AFRICAN: What currently keeps you motivated?
ADE OSINUBI: Rampant health disparities, Black women dying during childbirth for no reason, medical racism, and the limitless potential of integrating creative fields into the medicine.
L.A. AFRICAN: Is there any advice that you would like to lend to individuals looking to get into your industry or just in general?
ADE OSINUBI: Find a mentor early! I have been really blessed to have a mother who is a doctor because she has given me all the insider secrets. She has also connected me with colleagues that have been able to guide me in my process.
I know that not everyone has this privilege, but if you are able to participate in pipeline programs or even email physicians in your area for shadowing or research opportunities, then you are off to a great start.
Also, if you absolutely know that you want to be a physician, you should consider applying for 7-8 year combined medical programs so that you can avoid the traditional medical application process. My saving grace was my uncle who encouraged me to apply to combined programs. It has really saved me the wahala of taking the MCAT, spending money on applications, traveling for medical school interviews, etc.
L.A. AFRICAN: What are 2 interesting facts about you that only people close to you know?
ADE OSINUBI: 1. I have ten middle names (that fact gets oyinbo people shook but doesn't surprise my fellow Nigerians that much lol),
2. I work as a photographer and had my photo-series "SKIN" published on Blavity.com a few months ago
L.A. AFRICAN: If we gave you $50,000 and said you had to do something with it in the next 24 hours, what is the first thing you would buy/do and why? (CANNOT INVEST)
ADE OSINUBI: I would buy a couple of photography lenses (Canon 24-70 2.8 mm lens to be specific if there are any good samaritans out there), I would purchase a few plane tickets because I like to travel (that December in Lagos plane ticket is quite steep). I would also purchase a car because I need to drive to my medical rotations soon.