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Seeing the patient behind the disease

Dr. Oguchi Nwosu's path to medicine began in Nigeria, where he grew up and attended medical school before moving on to the United Kingdom to study obstetrics and gynecology. After that he made a move across the Atlantic to pursue family medicine in New York. Finally he arrived at Emory, where he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. As a Family Medicine practitioner, he delivers babies.

While Nwosu is a clinician day to day, he is committed to teaching the next generation of doctors. He works with both medical students and residents, practicing a great deal of bedside teaching. He says that often students want to know how to develop "great bedside manners" — compassion, listening skills, etc. — and his advice to them is that they need to demonstrate. It cannot be theory, but must be practice. "We get so focused on the disease and the medicines and all that, and we forget that behind that disease and behind those medicines or whatever treatments is a real person."

In addiiton to clinical care and teaching, Nwosu conducts research work on cervical cancer. "I have a particular interest in cervical cancer prevention as well as treatment but particularly prevention," he says. He's currently working with researchers at Emory who are trying to broaden the distribution of HPV vaccination for prevention. The uptake of HPV vaccination is fairly poor, Nwosu says, less than 50 percent in many states. "I think we can do better that given that this is something that can actually prevent cancer in the future."

The doctor hopes his students realize how much he cares about them and cares their future in medicine. "I want them to feel like 'Hmm, this guy cares.' It matters to me that they see me as being, you know, caring and trying to leave a positive imprint in them."

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