Looking at Access to Care: Joy Ogunmuyiwa

Spending the 2018-19 year at Harvard University to earn a Master of Public Health degree, College of Medicine student Joy Ogunmuyiwa will delve into her passion: community health care and how people have access to care in urban and rural areas. She’s taking the opportunity to develop her interest by inserting a gap year between her third and fourth years of medical school. “I’ll be going to the Social and Behavioral Science Department at Harvard University, and specifically looking at urban areas and access to health services and tertiary health services, such as surgical procedures or screening,’’ she says.

Originally from Texas, Ogunmuyiwa (pronounced (oh-GOOM-we-WA), was especially attracted to the NEOMED-Cleveland State University Partnership for Urban Health program to pursue that interest as a physician.“What I liked about NEOMED was that they had this focus on community health care—and the health behaviors behind the clinical medicine we study,” she says.

Already as an undergraduate, she started conducting research in access to care, specifically, how children who are orphaned by HIV or AIDS are able to access the health care system and education in low-income countries.

In her first year at NEOMED, Ogunmuyiwa studied access to detox centers in the Cleveland area. “We worked with Rosary Hall, which is a detoxification center for people who are addicted to opioids or alcohol use, and we looked at why some patients of the program weren’t adhering to the program. Was it because they didn’t have transportation to the program? Was it because there are outside factors other than their illness that didn’t allow them to stay in the program?”

She’s excited about the opportunity to delve further into research and credits Dana Peterson, Ph.D., associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology, with mentoring her and helping her to apply to the Harvard program. 

Research and face-to-face time with patients go together naturally for Ogunmuyiwa. The clinical experiences she had during her third year have been a highlight of her time at NEOMED so far, she says, because they “put a human face to all the pathologies we studied in our M2 and M3 years. I’m proud to be at NEOMED because of the focus that’s put on the patient.’’

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