Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo, a pediatrician with 14 years of experience practicing across the United States, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. She is also the CEO and founder of two organizations: Melanin & Medicine and Strong Children Wellness.
Today Dr. Erkeda chats with Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo about how her social enterprises aim to improve the social determinants of health and the journey behind each one.
- [00:38] Dr. Uwemedimo’s Medical Journey and Background
- [02:04] Why Pediatrics?
- [04:03] Melanin & Medicine
- [12:16] Strong Children Wellness
- [22:25] What Dr. Uwemedimo would Change about Healthcare
- [26:16] Dr. Uwemedimo’s Passions Outside of Medicine
- [28:27] Dr. Uwemedimo’s Advice to Pre-Meds and Medical Students
Dr. Uwemedimo’s Medical Journey and Background
Dr. Uwemedimo’s mother was a nurse, and would ask her daughter to accompany her on patient visits. Witnessing these interactions firsthand, Dr. Uwemedimo loved seeing the connection and intimacy between patients and health professionals. As a child, Dr. Uwemedimo looked forward to visits to her female African-American pediatrician who was always kind and nurturing. Trips to see family in Nigeria also left a mark on her. Dr. Uwemedimo felt uneasy seeing how different her own life was compared to her relatives. These life experiences are what prompted her to become a pediatrician.
Strong Children Wellness
After the Affordable Care Act was put in place, Dr. Uwemedimo started seeing more patients from underserved communities at her practice in Queens, New York. Physically, the children seemed fine but their socioemotional health were at risk. Dr. Uwemedimo wondered about how she could address the social determinants of health in a clinical setting.
An opportunity arose for her to partner with a local organization to provide medical consultations and examinations. Since the local organization already had the trust of the community, parents and kids were forthcoming to the physicians. Inspired from this experience, Dr. Uwemedimo and two other colleagues started Strong Children Wellness where they could bring primary care services to community based organizations. In this way, they can bring better healthcare to different areas while supporting the psychosocial development of children.
The Importance of Pediatrics and Prevention
Pediatrics is one of the lowest compensated fields in medicine.The healthcare system does not fully appreciate preventive care—which is what pediatrics is about: ensuring that children grow up to become healthy adults. Dr. Uwemedimo argues that preventive medicine is just as, if not more, valuable than curative medicine. Without appropriate compensation, private practices are compelled to increase their volume of patients which may decrease overall quality of care.