Why Representation Matters
Special thanks to Angela for inviting me to be a part of the Diversity in Medicine Initiative.
Hello. I’m Tolu Akinshola, a second-year Osteopathic medical student at TouroCOM NY.
Here is my journey:
I knew I wanted to be a physician ever since I was a little girl. My father was a professor at a medical school, and I would often visit him in his lab. The glass jars filled with various specimens and medical oddities lining the hallways piqued my interest. My love of science evolved into a love for medicine when I realized that I could not imagine myself tethered to a lab. I took advantage of any and every opportunity to break into the medical field. I qualified for the Medical Careers Program offered at my high school. Medical Careers allowed students to go to the local hospital to shadow various healthcare personnel and perform CNA-type duties. I also worked at a doctor’s office and obtained a biomedical engineering internship. Somewhere along the way, I was influenced by a notion that women should only pursue medicine if they want to be a primary care physician. Therefore, if I wanted to do a “less family friendly” specialty such as surgery, I should become a Physician Assistant. I subsequently altered my career path and attended a small college in Philadelphia, PA. It had an accelerated Physician Assistant program that I enrolled in. However, when it was time to begin the graduate part of the curriculum, the accreditation was revoked, and I gained the courage to pursue medicine again. I did not directly matriculate from undergrad to medical school; I attended a Post-baccalaureate program, then was accepted to medical school.