HMS Family Medicine Alumni Spotlight

April 05, 2019

Perspectives in Primary Care (formally the Primary Care Review) features perspectives from practitioners and students representing organizations, practices, and institutions across the country and around the world. All opinions expressed in this article are owned by the author(s).

The Harvard Home for Family Medicine builds upon the growing community of HMS family medicine students, residents, and attendings engaged in family medicine education, research, and mentorship opportunities.  While most of our more active participants are based within the Harvard system, our Harvard Medical School students often graduate to residencies further afield. In this series, we’re thrilled to spotlight what some of our recent HMS Family Medicine students have gone on to achieve.

Name: Chinyere I. Obimba, MD MPH

HMS graduation year: 2012

Residency: Swedish Cherry Hill Family Medicine Residency - Seattle, WA; Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center continuity clinic

What are you most proud of? As I continue my professional journey in Family Medicine, I think about my peers and the mentorship I received at HMS often, especially Dr. Kathe Miller.  Out of all my accomplishments during my medical training, I am most proud to have completed my MPH in Family and Community Health while I was a medical student (between my third and fourth years). That year helped me to refocus my career in medicine and solidified for me how I wanted to address social determinants of health as a physician. It also introduced me to Community Health Centers (CHCs) and convinced me that I would want to train in and later take on a leadership role in a CHC.

I am proud of completing my residency at Cherry Hill and working after residency at Carolyn Downs, a CHC that was originally founded by the Seattle Black Panther party and continues to serve a diverse community in Seattle, including black and Latinx populations. I am proud of the Grand Rounds talk I gave as a third year resident on questioning Race-based Therapies that evolved into a talk that I have given regionally and nationally at the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) conference. I am also proud of being part of the early movement in our residency to improve the diversity of our recruitment process and to be one of the faculty focusing on Anti-Racism in our program. I'm most proud of growing my family, which includes my husband, who I met when I was an intern, and an almost-toddler son.

What are you doing now? I am currently core faculty at Swedish Cherry Hill Family Medicine Residency. My curricular focus includes Integrative Medicine, Anti-racism and Race in Medicine, Maternal Child Health and Obstetrics. I am also completing the Integrative Medicine fellowship at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. One-third of my time is clinical and the rest of my time is educational, precepting residents and taking care of my curricular responsibilities. I also am an attending in our hospital on our Family Medicine Service and on Labor and Delivery for obstetrics call.

What are your future plans? I plan to remain in academic medicine for some time, developing my program's Race in Medicine offerings. I'm hoping to use that skill base to participate in community-based participatory research with residents and to serve as their adviser for community programs that they may partner with or establish during their residency.

How did you decide that FM was for you? I came into medical school thinking that I was going to become an OB/GYN, and I believed that through my OB rotation and until I did my pediatric rotation. I then discovered how much I loved pediatrics, in particular developmental pediatrics, and began to reconsider going into OB. One of my preceptors at my primary care longitudinal clinic my third year suggested that I consider Family Medicine because of my interest in obstetrics and pediatrics. I sealed the deal after completing the Family Medicine elective and spending time with Dr. Kathe Miller at the CHA Windsor Clinic. Family Medicine is a versatile specialty in which a physician can define and redefine their career paths and practice a broad spectrum of medicine. Family physicians are uniquely placed to advocate for underserved populations and be social justice agents.

What advice do you have for current HMS students about Family Medicine or anything else? Find mentors that you gel with early and contact them often with all of your questions about family medicine, the scope of practice, training programs, work-life balance, etc. These are physicians who can help you tailor your fourth year medical school experience and apply to residency programs that will help grow you into the type of family doctor you aspire to be.


Want to learn more about family medicine at Harvard Medical School? Visit the Harvard Home for Family Medicine today! 


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