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Introducing Dr. Gabriella Ode, M.D.

citizen | 6/7/2012, 2:04 p.m.
On Saturday, Gabriella Ode will become Dr. Gabriella Ode, M.D. when she earns a medical...
Gabriella Ode will graduate from Rush Medical College on Saturday. She is preparing to begin a residency in North Carolina. (Photo Courtesy of Gabriella Ode)

On Saturday, Gabriella Ode will become Dr. Gabriella Ode, M.D. when she earns a medical degree from Rush Medical College at Rush University on Chicagos West Side. A native of Nigeria, Ode moved to the Chicago area at eight years old and has always had an interest in science. In 2007, she earned a bachelors degree in kinesiology with a concentration in sports medicine from the University of Virginia.

I have always had an interest in science, but during my undergraduate years I realized that I also enjoyed working with people directly, Ode told the Chicago Citizen. Medicine paired my interest in both and allowed me to counsel and advise others and have a direct impact on their lives.

Odes decision to attend Rush was not an easy one. She had several offers from several medical schools and was even offered a full scholarship to one. But Ode, 27, knew that Rush was where she ultimately wanted to be.

I was fortunate enough to hold several acceptances to medical schools, she said. In the end I chose Rush because I was drawn to the collegial atmosphere among the students and faculty. Rush offers a strong foundation of support for its students. Additionally, Rush offered the most opportunities for me to participate in community service activities through the Rush Community Service Initiative Program.

Odes specialty is orthopaedic surgery and stems from her undergraduate degree in kinesiologythe study of human movement. While her concentration was in sports medicine she became interested in the treatment of athletic injuries. Orthopaedic surgery is the treatment of injuries to bones, joints, cartilage and muscles.

I love orthopedics because I get to spend time in the (operating room) and also get to learn about how to treat sports injuries, Ode said. The field is very hands on and you can make many diagnoses just through the physical examination without any invasive tests.

Ode says her experience at Rush has not only taught her how to practice medicine, but to also understand her patients as human beings.

My training at Rush offered a very strong clinical focus, she said. All of our courses focused not only on the science of medicine and disease but also how disease impacts a patients life. I think by exploring the human side of medicine, I am learning how to be a doctor that tries to understand what my patients are going through. To me that is the definition of a good doctor.

Ode is excited about the next phase of her life. She has been busy preparing for her move to Charlotte, NC where she will begin a five year orthopaedic surgery residency at Carolinas Medical Center. Highly interested in research, she is taking an extra year of residency to focus on orthopaedic research.

While Ode admits that medical school can be pricey, she says it is an investment in her future.

Medical school is quite expensive and many students rely on grants and loans to fund their education, she said. I am no exception. I know its a lot of money but I consider it an investment in my future.

Ode has advice for others interested in becoming a medical doctor which is to stay focused on your goal.

There will be many obstacles in the way in the form of challenging classes, limited time and people who may discourage you from achieving your goals, she told the Chicago Citizen. Try and put it all past you, stay positive and focus on why you want to go into medicine in a first place. Let that be the drive to keep you on your path to medicine.

By Thelma Sardin

Twitter: @thelmasardin