New physicians Cynthia Kudji and her daughter Jasmine Kudji checked their emails March 20, Match Day, and didn’t expect to set two records. That morning, both have been placed at Louisiana State University Health to complete their residency training — one of the first times a mother and daughter matched with the same hospital after graduating from medical school at the same time.
“We were so excited,” Jasmine, 26, said. “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.”
Cynthia, a Ghana native, immigrated to the United States with her family when she was two years old. It was during a family trip back to Ghana where Cynthia, 17 at the time, was inspired to become a doctor. There, she saw how egregious health conditions were when a woman she didn’t know asked her to treat her ill child.
“It jolted me because her only form of health care was a complete stranger,” said Cynthia, 49. “I thought, ‘You know what? What can I possibly do to change that, leave an impact, and make a difference?’”
While Cynthia went to the University of Medicine and Health Sciences in the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, her daughter attended Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans.
Being apart was difficult at first for both of them.
“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.”
Their mother-daughter bond was only strengthened while simultaneously attending different medical schools — whether it was staying up late together studying for a test over Skype, calling each other with questions about a patient’s diagnosis, or crying about the compounding stress of the program.
Now, moving forward, they’re excited to be reunited for their residency programs at Louisiana State University Health — Cynthia is planning to train in family medicine while Jasmine will pursue general surgery.
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