Oumou Bah is a Public Health Major and Black Alumni Club scholarship recipient. In this interview with Arizona Alumni Magazine, she discusses why she wants to become a doctor.
|Photo credit: Jacob Chinn|
Oumou Bah is a first-generation American and a second-generation Wildcat. Her parents, Saliou ’91 and Aissatou Bah ’98, fled the country of Guinea, which was ravaged by violence, and settled in Tucson.
Bah’s parents both worked at fast food restaurants earning minimum wage while raising two small children and attending school. She says their work ethic and determination to achieve the “American Dream” push her to do her best in every aspect of life.
As the daughter of two Wildcats and a Tucson native, Bah says the UA was the only school for her. Bah is a public health major and a Black Alumni Club scholarship recipient.
Q: You want to become a physician. What inspired that goal?
Growing up, I always felt that the doctor-patient relationship was lacking, and the fact that I never met an African-American doctor until I was 17 made me want to change that. I hope that once I achieve my dream I can inspire many other young girls to achieve theirs.
Q: Why is helping the disadvantaged receive health care so important to you?
It is important for me to advocate for those who do not have a voice. I believe that everyone should be able to have access to health care regardless of their socioeconomic status. As an African American, I realize that my ethnic group is one of the hardest hit when it comes to achieving equity in health care.
Q: You’ve volunteered at a hospice and a labor and delivery unit. How has the contrast between life and death affected you?
Working in hospice gave me my first experience with death, while working in women’s health has given me the chance to experience life from conception. Both opportunities have cemented a sense of duty to do the best that I can while I have my one life to live. This juxtaposition between being around death and life has changed me as a person and matured me over the years.
Q: You’ve assisted in the delivery of babies. What was that experience like?
The overwhelming sense of joy and accomplishment of being able to assist in one of the most important moments in one’s life is an experience that I hope becomes a permanent aspect of my life as an OB-GYN.
Q: How has the scholarship from UA Black Alumni Club helped you?
The UABA scholarship has been a great opportunity for me to do community service and meet the African-American leaders in the Tucson community. I have been lucky to make great friends and gain new insights.