From Fixing Cars to Fixing Bodies
Alumnus sees medicine as a vehicle for improving the community
After a long career as a small business owner of an auto repair shop, Carl Allamby decided to take a chance and pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. Investigating his options, Allamby looked for a program that could provide the academic support he needed to prepare for medical school, the flexibility and assistance necessary for a non-traditional, working student and the opportunity to serve his community. He found all three in the Partnership for Urban Health.
“I had a successful career and a family, but I really wanted to more directly help people and saw medicine as a perfect way to make my community a better place,” says Allamby. “Through the CSU-NEOMED program I found the support I needed to succeed and developed the skills necessary to provide excellent medical care to the populations and neighborhoods that need it the most.”
The Partnership, founded by Cleveland State University and Northeast Ohio Medical University and now including Ohio University, seeks to recruit and train a more diverse healthcare workforce to provide primary care to medically underserved urban communities. The goal is to connect future physicians directly to the types of communities they will serve after completing their training. Students in the program take pre-med courses at CSU and qualify for early assurance admission to NEOMED or Ohio University where they pursue an urban health curriculum and have an opportunity to conduct numerous clinical and non-clinical assignments at Cleveland-area healthcare facilities.
Allamby, an East Cleveland native, was a less-than-stellar student in high school and never considered college until later in life. He was in his 40s when he completed a bachelor’s degree in health sciences at CSU and entered NEOMED in 2015. During his tenure, he completed medical rotations at Metro Health and Summa Health System and a non-clinical rotation at Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services Inc. He also served as a student member of NEOMED’s Board of Trustees, providing insights on the academic, financial and social needs of students on campus.
Following graduation from medical school in 2019, he was selected for a three-year residency in emergency medicine at Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital. His inspiring story has earned considerable national and international attention, leading to hundreds of thousands of shares on social media and interviews with the CBS Evening News, the Kelly Clarkson Show and the Daily Mail in London, among others.
“The support and assistance I received from the dedicated faculty and staff at CSU and NEOMED have been central to my success,” Allamby adds. “At every turn people were there to make sure I had everything I needed and could accomplish the goals I set for myself.”
Allamby also stresses that while the program provides excellent training in science and medicine, he has learned just as much if not more from the courses and rotations that focused on the social, mental and economic needs of urban populations. He feels the social and cultural skills he gained will make him a much better caregiver and will be required knowledge for all individuals practicing medicine in the 21st Century.
“The science is important but so are the people being cared for,” Allamby notes. “This program taught me how to be an effective community health advocate as well as a good doctor.”
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