When Dr. Cynthia Kudji was growing up, there were few people who looked like her on TV that were doctors.
Prior to this, it never occurred to her that this was something that she could achieve. Let alone become a family legacy.
“I remember when we were young there were TV shows like The Cosby Show and A Different World,” she told to UMHS. “Seeing African Americans in college or being successful was like firsts. So, for me, it wasn’t like ‘Oh, yes, I want to be a physician’.”
MORE BLACK GIRL MAGIC!!!!Congratulations to Dr. Cynthia Kudji and her daughter, Dr. Jasmine Kudji. They graduated…
“It was more like, ‘Oh, no, can I really do this? Or, ‘Am I smart enough to do it?”
Now, two decades later, both she and her daughter have graduated from medical school and will work at the same hospital.
Cynthia graduated from the University of Medicine and Health Sciences in St. Kitts and Maine and will specialize in Family Medicine and her daughter, Dr. Jasmie Kudji graduated from the Louisiana State University and will specialize in general surgery.
Cynthia, who is originally from Ghana, became a nurse and then a nurse practitioner to support herself.
She decided to pursue her medical degree at the age of 43 after a visit back home.
During this trip, she was upset over the lack of health care in the village.
“My mom wanted us to have a family trip back to Ghana and there was an incident where we were in the village and somebody just walked up to us and said that their child had a fever and was sick and wanted my mom and I to help,” Cynthia told UMHS.
Dr Cynthia Kudji and Dr Jasmine Kudji, mother and daughter. Qualified as medical doctors at the same time.♥️
“We put the child in water, trying to get the temperature down, and that’s pretty much all I remember. I just remember being so frustrated that the mom had to come to a complete stranger to get access to health care. The only thing I knew that could change that situation was to be a physician.”
So, Cynthia enrolled at UMHS while Jasmine enrolled at LSU.
Cynthia and Jasmine have always been close and had to adapt to being so far apart.
“I think initially it was difficult because my mom and I have always been really close so I had to get used to the distance, we had to learn how to FaceTime and Skype each other.”
“So, we were Skyping each other every day and whenever I had struggles and she had struggles, we just had to learn to communicate from a distance,” Jasmine told UMHS. “But I think over time we figured it out.”
But even though they were far apart, this helped them to feel close.
The two found that they were able to support each other through the struggles of being in medical school.
Cynthia says being in medication has been both trying and rewarding.
“I always tell people we laugh together, we study together, we cry together,” Jasmine said. “I think medical school is one of those experiences that you don’t truly understand until you’re in it. Sometimes people struggle to find someone who relates to their struggles, so for that person to be my mom was extremely helpful.”
Now they’ve learned that they were both matched at LSU Health where Cynthia will serve in Family Medicine and Jasmine at LSU in General Surgery starting July 1.
UMHS reports that they are the first mother-daughter duo to attend medical school at the same time and match at the same institution.
Learn more about their story in the video below.
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