Dr. Cynthia Kudji and her daughter Dr. Jasmine Kudji spent several years apart while finishing medical school. Now, they get to do what they love together.
Single mom Dr. Cynthia Kudji and her daughter Dr. Jasmine Kudji checked their emails together on March 20 to discover that they - both recent medical graduates - had been placed at the same hospital in order to complete their residency training, NBC News reports. The mother-daughter duo had set two records that day. The first, graduating from medical school at the same time, and the second, being placed at Louisiana State University Health together. This is one of the first times a mother and daughter have been placed at the same hospital together. For Cynthia and Jasmine, it was one of the best moments of their lives.
Dr. Cynthia is from Ghana. She immigrated to the United States with her family when she was only two years old. Then, when she was 17, she was inspired to become a doctor during a family trip back to Ghana. While she was in the West African country, she witnessed the terrible health conditions firsthand when a woman she didn't personally know asked her to treat her sick child. The recent graduate stated in an interview with NBC News, "It jolted me because her only form of health care was a complete stranger. I thought, ‘You know what? What can I possibly do to change that, leave an impact, and make a difference?'"
Medicine was the answer. Sadly, her dreams were put on the back burner when she was a senior at Tulane University as she became pregnant with her daughter Jasmine. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree from Tulane, she went on to attend William Carey University for nursing school and completed her Masters of Science in Nursing at Loyola University in 2006. For almost a decade, she worked as a nurse before finally deciding she wanted to become a physician. Jasmine is a lucky daughter - she saw her mom put so many others before herself. Inspired by her selflessness, she gained an interest in the medical field as well.
"Growing up, I saw that being a physician was a position of service, and I really valued that," she said. "I could see myself doing that from a young age." When the news of their residency training placements arrived, she couldn't have been happier. She stated, "We were so excited. Our life has never been planned, and you never know what’s going to happen. It was one of the best moments of my life." Jasmine graduated in 2014 from Louisiana State University, where she majored in English while taking pre-med classes on the side. The daughter went on to study at Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans while her mother attended the University of Medicine and Health Sciences in the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Though being apart from each other was difficult, they powered through the separation for the greater good.
Throughout the process of medical school, the mother and daughter were always there for each other. "We really are each other’s best friends and we constantly rely on each other," Jasmine said. "Medical school is not set up to work by yourself." The pair would often stay up late together while studying for a test over Skype, call each other with questions about a patient’s diagnosis, or cry together about the immense stress of their programs. Now, they have finally been reunited and can do what they love while being by each other's sides. The pandemic has only proven to them the importance of the work that they do. Cynthia shared, "This is a time when physicians can be leaders, show that we contribute, we make a difference in people’s lives. This is where we get the opportunity to serve. I’m glad I’ll get to do something that people need now more than ever with my daughter."