The UK College of Medicine chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) commemorated Black History Month by curating educational information about the Black community's impact in medicine. On February 19th, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion circulated a newsletter featuring the perspectives and insights of Black physician-leaders at the UK. One of the physicians in the spotlight was UKEM's Peter Akpunonu, MD. Dr. Akpunonu's accomplishments in emergency medicine are recognized far and wide. He joined the Department of Emergency Medicine at UK in 2017, where he currently serves as a Medical Director for the Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center and runs an inpatient consultation service at Albert B. Chandler Hospital. He also serves as the Co-Medical Director of our department, as well as the Director of Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine.
Here is Dr. Akpunonu's excerpt from the newsletter: 1) What or who played a major role in inspiring you to go into medicine? My parents are physicians, and they encouraged me to go into medicine. My mother was the first Black female urologist in Ohio, and my father is a vice chair of medicine. Their success encouraged me and showed me that success is possible for me.
2) What does Black History Month mean to you? Every month is Black History Month. Our contributions to the United States and the world cannot be confined to one month. However, this is a month in which we focus more on the accomplishments of Blacks.
3) Where do you envision the greatest impact of increasing representation in medicine would be? Mentorship. As we succeed and more of us enter the ranks of medicine, we can encourage others to join us not only in medicine, but nursing, pharmacy, law, and engineering.
4) What advice would you give to your younger self, still early in their journey into the medical field? Work hard and take the opportunities given to you. I would not be where I am if I had not said, "yes" to some opportunities that increased my workload and put me in uncomfortable positions. As Black History Month comes to a close, we must remember that our medical community, our nation, and our world could not be what they are today without the efforts of the Black community. To view the full newsletter, click HERE: https://mailchi.mp/uky/black-history-month-newsletter-snma-752223?e=981e3bdf80