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Nnamdi Gwacham

Some medical students were inspired by an early encounter with a doctor. For Nnamdi Gwacham, it was the doctor he didn’t meet who inspired him the most.

When Nnamdi Gwacham was nine years old and attending a boarding school in Nigeria, he cut his calf on a sharp piece of metal. “I was bleeding profusely,” he remembers today. “So I went to our principal and said 'Hey, can I go see a doctor, because this looks pretty bad.'” His principal said no.  In the town where Gwacham’s school was located, there was no local doctor, so Gwacham was told to clean and bandage the wound himself.

“And that was when I decided, well, if I can’t have a doctor now, then some day I will be that doctor for another kid,” Gwacham says.

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Shortly after his injury, Gwacham moved to the United States and began an educational journey that would eventually lead him to the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. Currently in his second year, he is enjoying the opportunity to meet physicians from many different fields of medicine. Rather than choose a specialty this early, he says he’s keeping his options open.  “I’ve talked to a lot of upper classmen, and almost every single one of them has had a change of heart about what they thought they wanted to do,” he explains. “I think the time I spend in my third year, doing different clinical rotations, will shed some light on what I really want to do.”

He’s especially eager to try practicing in rural and underserved populations outside of the United States. “One of the reasons I came to school here at VCOM is that we encourage international rotations.  When this journey is finished, I want to be able to go back to Nigeria and use my skills to help other individuals who may be in danger of falling through the cracks,” he says. “Because that could very easily have been me.”