Mother-daughter duo graduate from the same medical school, start careers in same hospital

By finishing medical school at the same time and getting matching appointments at the same hospitals, this mother-daughter team just made history.

The news that Cynthia Kudji and her daughter, Dr. Jasmine Kudji, will both be working at LSU Health in Louisiana — Cynthia in Family Medicine and Jasmine in General Surgery — was joyfully received by the Kudji family last month at Match Day.

It was especially exciting for the pair because they had studied medicine separately for years. Jasmine went to the LSU School of Medicine in Louisiana, while Cynthia attended the University of Medicine and Health Sciences in St. Kitts and Maine.

They will be reunited on July 1 of 2020, achieving their lifetime goal of becoming physicians! By enrolling in medical school at the same time and matched at the same institution, Cynthia and Jasmine created history.

Cynthia, a 23-year-old college student from Ghana in West Africa, became pregnant. Cynthia had to abandon her plans to become a doctor because she was expecting a child. She spent over a decade working as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner before enrolling in medical school.

She didn't always have a goal of becoming a doctor. When she was a little child, there weren't many African American physicians on television.

When Cynthia was younger, she remembered watching programs like "The Cosby Show" and "A Different World." Observing African Americans at college or achieving success was a first. It wasn't like, "Oh, sure, I want to be a doctor," for me. It was more of a "Oh, no, can I really do this?" sensation. I'm smart enough to handle it, aren't I?

Cynthia immigrated to the United States when she was just two years old, and it was on a journey back to Africa that she came to terms with her career goals. She and her mother were in the village when someone came up to them and requested assistance. Her toddler was unwell and running a fever. Cynthia remembered using every effort to lower the child's fever. In response to her question on the child's performance, her mother said, "I don't believe the youngster performed very well."

Even as a little child, Cynthia found it frustrating that her mother had to seek medical attention from a total stranger. She believed that being a doctor was the only way to make a difference.

She looked at other schools before deciding on UMHS.

I thought that, as an older student, I needed assistance and a curriculum that would be tailored to me. The tiny class sizes definitely appealed to me, she remarked.

Cynthia was a non-traditional student who experienced several difficulties. Since she hadn't attended school in a while, she found it challenging to process all the information she was receiving. She has duties as an elderly person as well. No matter how busy she was, she had to be there for her daughter anytime she needed anything.

Jasmine has her own struggles to face as well, especially given how far away she is from her mother, who is also her best friend.

Jasmine said, "It was difficult at first because my mom and I have always been close. So, I learned how to FaceTime and Skype each other, and we were Skyping every day. Whenever I had difficulties or she had difficulties, we simply had to learn to speak from a distance. I believe we worked it out eventually.

Thanks to technology, Cynthia and Jasmine were able to maintain their close relationship. After spending years apart, they are both ready to start a new chapter in their professions.

Jasmine stated, "We learn together, we laugh together, and we weep together. One of those experiences that you can't fully comprehend until you go through it. It might be challenging to find someone who can understand your challenges, so having my mom as that person was quite beneficial.

Congratulations to Drs. Cynthia and Jasmine Kudji! See their story below.

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