Publisher's note: The author of this post, Grady Dillon, is a contributor to ECU News Services.
East Carolina University student Godgive Umozurike plans to become a physician and serve in rural and medically underserved areas of North Carolina.
Umozurike, a senior from Elizabeth City, is majoring in public health with a concentration in pre-health professions as well as minoring in science. She said the meaning behind her first name is that she was seen as a gift to her parents from God.
"My mother was told she was unable to conceive a child after previous losses, yet she continued to remain hopeful and my parents' prayers were answered,"
Umozurike said. "My hope is that the love that God has for me overflows into the relationships that I have with others while simultaneously fueling my drive to support the communities that I serve."
Umozurike serves as a captain of the African Student Organization’s female dance team, “Motomakasi.”
She said she chose her major because of its emphasis on translating cultural sensitivity into improved patient care and effectively using public health during clinical encounters.
"Physicians must create an environment founded in a balanced collaborative patient-provider relationship where patients feel comfortable to share their background and needs,"
Umozurike said. "Understanding the patient's needs and social determinants provides insight that can help physicians deliver patient-centered care."
As a future physician, Umozurike said she would strive to be aware of and provide treatment in the context of her patient's situation, whether economic, social, environmental or historical.
"This responsibility goes beyond the examination room and into the community where health equity, healthy living and culture truly occur,"
At ECU, Umozurike has received the Glen G. Gilbert Scholarship and the Emily K. Evans Scholarship, both of which require a 3.0 GPA or higher. She is also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Society and the Servire Society.
Outside of her major, Umozurike serves as a chemistry tutor at the Pirate Academic Success Center and is captain of the African Student Organization's (ASO) female dance team, "Motomakasi."
"As a member of the ASO, I help promote and sponsor activities to help the university and community gain a better understanding of African culture,"
Umozurike said. "I dance in hopes of changing the perceptions of Africa by empowering others to embrace my culture just as I have learned to."
Umozurike said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has allowed her to pause and reevaluate her priorities while creating uncertainty about the future.
"We don't know how long this is going to last. Although this is our current reality, I do know what I can do,"
Umozurike said. "I can choose how I respond to this situation; I can overcome how this makes me feel and focus on the positives in the world."
She said she has been focusing on mindfulness, patience and self-care during this time and said as a public health major, building a strong network and maintaining an essence of community is important.
After she graduates, Umozurike said she would participate in a MedServe Fellowship, a two-year AmeriCorps program that places recent college graduates in primary care clinics across rural and other medically underserved areas in North Carolina.
"For the fellowship, I will be serving as a medical assistant and community health worker for the school-based health system in Ahoskie at my clinical site, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center,"
She said she hopes the experience will build on the foundation in her journey of becoming a physician.
What advice do you have for other students?
I would encourage students to do two things. First, BREATHE. Second, BE YOURSELF. Nothing can dim the light that shines within you. Only you can do that. You are beyond the limitations you place on yourself. Stop walking in fear and walk confidently into your divine calling.