Forty-two years ago, Phillip Ozuah, a professor of paediatrics was an unknown undergraduate slugging it out with colleagues at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI), Ibadan, Oyo state.
Today, the tide of a successful international medical career that is giving back to its roots has reintroduced him to the academic community of UI and Nigeria at large.
Ozuah delivered a keynote address dubbed “From Initiative to Finishative – An Academic Journey” on Monday during which he accepted to be the chief fundraiser for the students’ hostel project being developed at the College.
He declared the support of $1 million to the building fund, an individual donation that has perhaps not been seen in several decades of a tertiary education system weakened by neglect from the federal government.
When Ozuah graduated from UI in 1985, he went on to acquire two distinct master’s degrees. He earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in educational leadership and administration from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He completed his pediatric internship and residency at Einstein and Montefiore, and his postdoctoral fellowship in medical education at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles.
Ozuah was named appointed the chief executive officer (CEO) of Montefiore Medicine, the umbrella organization for Montefiore Health System (MHS), and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in November 2019, succeeding Steven Safyer, M.D., who retired after 40 years of service to the institutions.
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Montefiore Medical Center operates as a hospital, providing geriatrics, neurology, cardiology, immunology, oncology, pharmacy, radiology, surgery, urology, and other health care services. Montefiore Medical Center serves patients in the State of New York.
The professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology joined Montefiore in 1989, spending close to 25 years before rising atop.
He hitherto served as president of Montefiore and physician-in-chief of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM), where he worked to deliver best-in-class clinical care with a commitment to healthcare access for the underserved. U.S. News & World Report ranked MHS’s medical specialties, under his leadership, in the top 1 percent of the nation’s hospitals and CHAM as one of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals, according to profiling by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
He was described as one with a strong commitment to medical education as well as deep academic medical research expertise, including as a National Institutes of Health-funded investigator and as a professor and the university chair of pediatrics at Einstein.
In these roles, Ozuah expanded access for underserved communities, recruited and cultivated outstanding talent, advanced programs of excellence, fostered innovations in medical education, and improved financial and operational performance by integrating care across a rapidly growing and evolving Montefiore system that sees more than six million patient interactions a year.
He has been recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in teaching and patient care, including as an inductee into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and a two-time recipient of the Academic Pediatric Association’s prestigious Helfer Award for Innovation in Medical Education. Along with receiving various awards for teaching and clinical excellence, Ozuah has been recognized by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the “Top 25 COOs in Healthcare.”
He’s currently a trustee of the New York Academy of Medicine and the Montefiore Medical Center.
Olayinka Omigbodun, provost of CoMUI in a statement released on Wednesday appreciated his landmark contribution and commended the college for the role played in the foundation of his career.
Ozuah has set a clear precedent that the education system in Nigeria could gradually heal from the wounds of neglect, the inadequacy of funding, and incessant strike actions with the help of alumni who look back.