I graduated as one of the youngest and top ten medical students from the University of Calabar, Nigeria in 1987. In 1991 I relocated to the United States after I got married.
I completed residency training in Brooklyn, New York and became board certified in Internal Medicine in 1996. In 1998 I relocated to the greater Chicagoland area to work in a large multi-specialty managed care group.
My typical clinic day consisted of seeing anywhere from 20-30 patients. Majority of these patients were follow ups scheduled into 15-minute “double-booked” appointments.
Over the course of my career, I became disillusioned with my career path. Despite the heavy workload, I seemed to always fall short of the so-called ‘productivity benchmarks’ set by the organization. Try as I would, I did not feel that I was really making a difference in the lives of my patients. I began to feel more like a cog in this model I began to describe as ‘assembly line medicine’.
The organization I worked for made it clear that I was disposable and there was a constant threat of being down-sized because they claimed were operating at a loss. I yearned to spend more time teaching my patients about ways to better manage or even prevent disease, to show them how our state of mind can affect out overall well-being. I wanted to help my patients gain a better understanding of their disease process and also ways to get better. I came to the realization that my passion was to shine the focus more on wellness and prevention rather than only on disease management. But I found that the healthcare systems I worked within were not truly set up for that.
In my search for that better way to practice, in 2005, I went into private practice with two other business partners. However, our practice philosophies were divergent, and so after five years of trying to build a viable practice in 2010 I made a hard decision to leave.
Following my failed attempt at private practice, I embarked on a career as a hospitalist, where I took care of patients admitted to the hospital. But in spite of making a great income I still had that gnawing emptiness that I truly was not making a difference in the lives of the patients I served.
2012 was filled with numerous watershed moments. My father passed away suddenly, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and my second marriage ended very abruptly and traumatically. I realized after facing my own mortality, I needed to personally walk my talk. It was no longer just about ensuring my patients were well, it was about including myself in that wellness equation.
In March 2018 I attended a conference by the Institute of Functional Medicine in San Diego, California. As I sat listening to the lecture topics I realized that I had finally found my tribe of like-minded people who were also passionate about optimizing health and promoting wellness of their clients. I embarked on a year and half long training and in December 2019, I became a certified practitioner of the Institute of Functional Medicine.
THRIVE Functional Health is my functional medicine practice located in Chicago, Illinois. I consider myself my ideal client. I am committed to helping women particularly those living with chronic health conditions to optimize their health and wellbeing so that they can experience wholesome lives allowing them to fulfill their purpose on the planet.