By Wendy Sarubbi | April 2, 2012 12:39 pm

As a child in her native Nigeria, third-year medical student Uchechi Anumudu watched in wonder as her mother, a nurse, cared for patients and made them feel better. It was there that the seed to help people was planted in Uchechi’s heart.

Reflecting  that passion to make a difference, especially in women’s health care,  Uchechi  was recently named a recipient of the John Gibbons Award from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The award is named for a past president of ACOG who recognized the importance of medical students to the future of obstetrics/gynecology.

The award includes a stipend of $1,000 to travel to ACOG’s  District IV meeting, October 5-7, in Charleston, S.C. Uchechi will travel to the meeting with her mentor, Dr. Lori Boardman, assistant dean of medical education and professor of obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Boardman was delighted with Uchechi’s achievement. “She was a star on the Ob/Gyn Clerkship, and is very much deserving of this recognition and opportunity to learn more about the field she has chosen to pursue,” she said.

In an essay written as part of the selection process, Uchechi described the inequality women face in Nigeria and how that influenced her to improve access to healthcare for all women. Uchechi, whose family now lives in North Carolina, said she saw how Nigerian women suffered from so many conditions that could have been prevented with proper care.

“One thing I am passionate about is exposure to education,” said Uchechi, who is now in her internal medicine clerkship. “Minority populations and other people who don’t have access to resources might find themselves in at-risk situations that could be avoided with education. We need to educate people so they can make the right choices.”

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