"Family," Service and Talent Lure Physicians Back to College of Medicine and HU Hospital
By Nyia Curtis
Howard University News Service
WASHINGTON- With her skills and abilities as a surgical oncologist, Dr. Lori Wilson was in high demand and could have been a doctor at various medical facilities around the country. However, in the end, she chose to come back to Howard.
As an emergency medicine physician, Dr. Michelle Carter was in a similar situation when she completed her residency, but she too chose to return to Howard.
They are among scores of graduates of Howard University College of Medicine or former residents at Howard University Hospital who ultimately chose to return to Howard where they train future physicians and treat patients.
“There were a number of reasons why I came back to Howard,” said Wilson, an assistant professor of surgery at the College of Medicine and a cancer surgeon at the hospital who returned to the university in January.
“Howard is like home to me. The faculty and staff here are an amazing group. Coming back to Howard gave me an opportunity to really interact with a same-minded group and with a great intellectual community.”
Doctors Babar Shafiq, Dapo A. Ojeyemi, Jacqueline Dunmore-Griffith and Robert DeWitty also returned, some recently and some a few years ago, to their training grounds to practice their craft and to nurture others.
Shafiq, an assistant professor and orthopedic trauma surgeon, wanted to give back to the university that helped him.
“There are many people at this intuition who taught me when I was a medical student and resident, said Shafiq, who returned to Howard this year. “ I really benefited from many of the doctors both at the College of Medicine as well as physicians here at the hospital.”
“I am here filling the role of a person that can take care of severe traumatic injuries and at the same time offer care to people that need it and training to young doctors.”
Ojeyemi, a spine surgeon and instructor at the College of Medicine, also returned to the university this year. He said he enjoyed his previous experience so much that he had to come back.
“I learned a lot from professors that I worked with here and I was giving back and saying thank you for providing me with training,” he said.
Carter, the vice chair and clinical director of the Department of Emergency Medicine, said that she wanted to return because Howard is such an excellent training ground.
“There is something that pulls on you to come back to the place that trained you and to the place where you know that you are definitely giving back to a community that embraced you at some point during your educational endeavors,” said Carter, who returned in 2005.
Dumore-Griffith, an assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, has a deep family history with Howard.
“My father went to Howard’s medical school. So did my sister and my husband. I have strong ties to Howard in terms of the College of Medicine,” said Dunmore-Griffith, who returned to Howard in 2009. “I trained under Dr. Alfred Goldson (former chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology) . I actually remained with his group through 1998.”
“Dr. Goldson passed away and Dr. Oscar Streeter was recruited to be chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology. When Dr. Streeter came back, he expressed his interest to me in 2009 and I quit private practice and came back to Howard.”
DeWitty, an associate professor and a surgical oncologist in the Department of Surgery at the College of Medicine, was invited back to the university in 1981.
“I thought that it would be a great opportunity to come back and work with some of my mentors, such as Dr. Jack White. This was an opportunity that I could not pass up. So I was very glad to come back to Howard once I finished my fellowship.”
Almost universally, the doctors said Howard is their home and they are glad to be a part of the college and hospital’s mission to serve the underserved.
“I am just glad to be back,” Ojeyemi said.