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This mother-daughter duo is making history together as the first-ever to graduate from medical school at the same time and match at the same hospital.
The University of Medicine and Health Sciences (UMHS) reports that Dr. Cynthia Kudji & daughter, Jasmine, both matched at LSU Health in Louisiana after receiving their medical degrees–Cynthia in Family Medicine and Jasmine in General Surgery.
The two were thrilled to receive this news on Match Day last month as they studied for years apart at separate schools. Cynthia earned her degree in St. Kitts and Maine from UMHS and her daughter obtained her M.D. from LSU School of Medicine in Louisiana, according to Because of Them We Can.
Dr. Cynthia Kudji, who’s originally from Ghana, West Africa, put her dreams of becoming a doctor on hold when she was pregnant with her daughter at just 23-years-old. She went on to become a nurse and worked as an RN and Nurse Practitioner for almost a decade before deciding to attend medical school.
Dr. Cynthia Kudji didn’t always plan on practicing medicine, considering there wasn’t a lot of representation of physician role models on television when she was younger.
“I remember when we were young there were TV shows like ‘The Cosby Show’ and ‘A Different World,’” she said to UMHS. “Seeing African Americans in college or being successful was like firsts. So, for me it wasn’t like ‘Oh, yes, I want to be a physician’. It was more like, ‘Oh, no, can I really do this? Or, ‘Am I smart enough to do it?”
A trip back to her homeland inspired her to follow her aspirations. After researching numerous schools, she decided to pursue medicine at UMHS.
“What really caught my eye was the whole personalized education because I felt I needed support being an older student and one that would cater to me and I was really drawn to the small class sizes,” she said.
She faced challenges as a nontraditional student, and her daughter Jasmine had difficulties adjusting as well, especially since she was so far away from her mom.
“I think initially it was difficult because my mom and I have always been really close so I had to get used to the distance, we had to learn how to FaceTime and Skype each other, so we were Skyping each other every day and whenever I had struggles and she had struggles, we just had to learn to communicate from a distance,” Dr. Jasmine Kudji said. “But I think over time we figured it out.”
The two doctors were able to strengthen their family bond while attending medical school simultaneously thanks to technology.
They’re both excited to be back together again and look forward to entering this next phase in their careers side by side.
“I always tell people we laugh together, we study together, we cry together,” said Dr. Jasmine Kudji. “I think medical school is one of those experiences that you don’t truly understand until you’re in it. Sometimes people struggle to find someone who relates to their struggles, so for that person to be my mom was extremely helpful.”
Dr. Cynthia Kudji credits her family, faculty, and staff at UMHS for supporting her through her journey.
“This journey has been absolutely amazing and our success is truly a testament to the education that I received at UMHS hands down,” Dr. Cynthia Kudji said.