From the time she was a young girl running around her father’s medical practice wearing a stethoscope around her neck, Jean Adomfeh ’16, ’18 has aspired to be a physician. Stony Brook’s Women’s Leadership Council is helping to make her dreams a reality.
“Both of my parents were working, so sometimes I would be brought along for the day,” she says. “My mother is a nurse and at that time she was helping my father in his office.”
As a first-generation American whose family has roots in Ghana, the Clifton Park, New York, native could gauge how fulfilling her father’s career was by the smile he wore every night when he came home from the office. She also witnessed what he had done for others when former patients approached him in public to thank him for his medical care.
While she was growing up, Jean was a voracious reader. She loved nothing better than lying on the living room carpet and devouring the information contained in her father’s illustrated anatomy books.
“It was so wonderful to think that our bodies each work in a way that if something goes wrong, we can fix that part and get the whole system working again,” she says. “I knew from a young age that I would become a doctor.”
Jean began pursuing her bachelor of arts degree in Stony Brook in 2013, choosing the University for its value and campus design, which she found familiar, having grown up in a quiet, tree-filled area.
As an undergraduate student, Jean elected to major in multidisciplinary studies with a concentration in biology, chemistry and creative writing.
“I felt that writing would be valuable in helping me to better understand and communicate with others,” she says. “There is a correlation between medical students who have taken a more multidisciplinary approach in college and better doctor-patient interactions. I want to be a positive part of peoples’ stories, and I can do that through medicine.”
While at Stony Brook, searching for a program that would offer both clinical and healthcare management aspects, Jean proposed an independent internship concept to the Women’s Leadership Council and found them supportive of her idea.
“The Women’s Leadership Council sets out to develop women leaders. They gave me a chance to develop my career.”
It was while Jean was on that internship that she literally had an eye-opening experience that convinced her to become an ophthalmologist. “An infant whom we examined had optic nerve damage beyond repair from a buildup of fluid in her head,” she says. “Her eyes could have been saved if she had been seen earlier, but there are so few doctors in Ghana and her family had to travel so far before they could see an eye specialist.”
While earning her BA through the Honors College, Jean enrolled in the MBA Fast Track Health Care Management Program to acquire the skills needed to someday run a clinic or other healthcare facility.
“With the effects of the Affordable Care Act transforming the American healthcare system, teams of health care professionals will be seeing more patients now than ever before,” she says. “So that patients can continue to get the healthcare they deserve, the system must become more efficient.
The healthcare management program I am taking offers me statistical analysis, conceptual reasoning and leadership skills so I can make decisions to guide patients through the system in the most effective way. It’s such a broad and practical degree.”
— Glenn Jochum