Dr. Cynthia Kudji, originally from Ghana, West Africa was a senior at Tulane University when she became pregnant with her daughter Jasmine. She paused her dreams of becoming a Doctor and started her healthcare career working in a nursing home as a nursing assistant. Cynthia then went to nursing school to become a Registered Nurse, and eventually, a Nurse Practitioner.
She said, “My mom wanted us to have a family trip back to Ghana and there was an incident where we were in the village and somebody just walked up to us and said that their child had a fever and was sick and wanted my mom and I to help. We put the child in water, trying to get the temperature down, and that’s pretty much all I remember. The last thing I did was ask how the child faired out and she was like ‘I don’t think the child did very well’ and I just remember being so frustrated that the mom had to come to a complete stranger to get access to health care. The only thing I knew that could change that situation was to be a physician. That drove the whole line of thought to ‘Hey, I would love to be a physician.”
Cynthia worked as a Nurse for nearly a decade when she decided she was ready to become a Physician.
Jasmine knew early on in life that she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a Doctor. According to NBC News, she said, “Growing up, I saw that being a Physician was a position of service, and I really valued that. I could see myself doing that from a young age.”
Cynthia attended UMHS in the Caribbean island of St. Kitts while her daughter attended Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans.
“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.”
As their time in medical school began to wrap up, the pair turned their attention to the transition to residency.
Cynthia said, “We would practice our interviews on each other. She would critique me, and I would critique her. Even if I felt an interview didn’t go well, Jasmine was always encouraging. We learned to value the quality of the interview and not the number of interviews that we received. As we got closer to Match Day, we got more and more nervous.”
On March 20, 2020, Drs. Cynthia and Jasmine Kudji received the wonderful news they had both matched to LSU residency positions.
Mother and daughter are excited about their futures and honored to serve their home state.
According to TODAY, the Kudjis want to give young black girls and women a look into their lives and are sharing their personal experiences. They created a blog called The MD Life where they explain some things they struggled with, like how to apply for medical school, how to get into medical school, and other information they wish they had known in the beginning.
Kudji said, “When you’re young and you don’t see someone that looks like you doing something that you want to do, when you see other people doing it, you kind of start to think well, maybe these people are inherently somehow better than me. And so, that’s why I think representation matters. It shows young people or even older people that, no, there’s nothing inherently wrong with you, you’re not less intelligent or less capable. You know, you can do it too.”