Usiwoma is an oculoplastic surgeon who mentors medical students in Baltimore. We talked to her about what inspired her to become a mentor and love what she had to say.
Name: Dr. Usiwoma A.
Profession: Oculoplastic Surgeon
Where are you from? Baltimore, MD
Why did you become a doctor?
I wanted to be a doctor since I was 10 years old. I grew up poor and had my father’s example of selfless love as my motivation to become a person for others. I stuck with it and have learned through many things, especially my career, to be a person for others.
Why did you choose to become an oculoplastic surgeon?
I like the artistic nature of my job. Everyday in the clinic or the OR is an opportunity to create a masterpiece.
What is your favorite part about your job?
The fact that I can perform life-saving surgery, like a tumor excision one day and turn around and do cosmetic surgery the next day. It’s multi-faceted and service-oriented, which is incredibly important to me.
Why do you enjoy being a mentor?
I enjoy mentoring because it gives me a chance to give back without expecting anything in return. I want to be who I was fortunate enough to have along my journey.
How many students do you mentor at a time? How do you choose?
I mentor two to four students at a time and choose based on recommendations from peers, or some who have reached out through social media. It’s been awesome to connect in such a way and change lives.”
Did you have a mentor as a med student?
Yes. My mentor, Dr. Olivier, helped me into Ophthalmology. She was my advocate and my sponsor. She told me what I needed to do and put me in the position to attain my dream.
What is a piece of advice that you always provide to your mentees?
It’s not always what you know, but who you know—like having a mentor to guide you and a sponsor to vouch for you
Would you encourage other doctors to mentor? If yes, why?
Absolutely. There are so many behind us who are lost and just need a little push in the right direction to achieve their dream. Think about what you wish you had when you were in that position and be that person.
If you could speak to your younger self, what would you tell her?
That all will be well. To everything there is a season and a purpose. You will be more than OK.