WE ARE: A Nation of Immigrants - New Haven 2018
New Haven Green A18
Current occupation: Assistant Professor of Cardiology, Yale Medical School
Arrival in the US: 1989 at age 13
Reason for migration: I came to the US with my American born mother after her divorce from my Kenyan father.
Commentary: When we first moved here, my mother was raising my siblings and me on her own. We didn’t have much money and so we went to a free clinic where we got very good healthcare. I remember going to the free dentist and getting my teeth whitened because we had high fluoride content in the water in Kenya which had turned our teeth brown. The excellent healthcare I received as a child in this country is probably why I became a doctor. So it’s extremely important to me to provide similarly needed healthcare to the underserved populations – the poor, the immigrants -- in New Haven. There is incredible need here.
While I am a cardiologist, I am also a social worker. I spend a lot of time trying to help my patients navigate their very difficult social and economic lives so that they can take care of their health. This kind of service requires me to take the time to listen to them, to identify the resources they need and to provide them with continuity of care over time. For some, coming to see me is the only space in their lives where they get proper attention and care. Some people in this country believe that if only the poor would work harder, do more, they would be fine. These people do not appreciate the structural issues in people’s lives that bring them down. We’ve got to change that perspective.