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Inspirational example

Alumnus receives award for long list of early achievements

Student Life

By Michelle Osmond

A Faculty of Medicine alumnus and teacher, still early in his career, has been honoured for his many accomplishments.

Dr. Boluwaji Ogunyemi recently received the Young Alumni Award, Alumni Award of Merit 2019 from the University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Ogunyemi’s journey began when, as a young boy, his Nigerian parents immigrated to Canada. He earned a B.Sc. in sociology and medical science from Western University because he believes “that understanding the social context of medicine is key to improving patient health.”

He then came to Memorial University for a graduate diploma in clinical epidemiology and a doctor of medicine (MD ’13) degree. That was followed by a five-year specialization in dermatology at the University of British Columbia, where he was honoured as chief resident in the Department of Dermatology and Skin Science.

Now, he is an accomplished dermatologist, a researcher, a writer as well as a clinical assistant professor of medicine here at Memorial.

No place like home

Dr. Ogunyemi says it was an honour to be recognized for his efforts and contributions to his field but, he adds, there’s no place like home.

“It was great to be able to bring my undergraduate experiences to Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine, first as a medical student and graduate student, where I was quite active in student leadership, research, and governance and advocacy, and now as an assistant professor, where I regularly teach medical students and residents.”

He credits his parents, his earliest and greatest role-models, for instilling in him the importance of hard work, dedication and sacrifice.

Well accomplished

While completing his training, Dr. Ogunyemi served as president of the Medical Student Society at Memorial, as director of communications for Resident Doctors of British Columbia and on the board of directors of the Canadian Dermatology Association.

He has been published in several peer-reviewed scientific journals and regularly presents at international conferences, is one of the few Canadians to be selected as a TEDMED© Research Scholar and has been named a National Institutes of Health-National Medical Association Scholar.

In addition, he is the recipient of the Harry Jerome Award in Health Sciences, regularly writing about issues related to diversity, inclusion, social justice and medicine and has been published in The New York Times, Huffington Post and the Globe and Mail.

Dr. Ogunyemi mentors youth from rural communities, minority groups and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and regularly travels to western Labrador to provide care in remote communities. He was recently awarded the American Academy of Dermatology ‘Members Making a Difference’ Award, The Royal Bank of Canada Top Canadian Immigrant Award and the Harry Jerome Award in Health Sciences.

He has been selected to give high-profile speeches including the 2018 Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Convocation address, is a TEDx speaker and was a speaker at the Atlantic Immigration Summit.

The Young Alumni Award recognizes significant contributions by an individual in their field of endeavour, whether through professional achievement or community service. The recipient is aged 40 or under, and sets an inspirational example for future young alumni.

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