Alumni Spotlight: Oladele M. Oladapo, MD

Trinity School of Medicine prides itself on the strength and ambition of its students. So many future physicians come our way looking for something new; whether that’s a unique learning environment built on support and a strong relationship with the faculty, a curriculum with an emphasis on clinical skills and service to patients, or just a true opportunity to live up to their potential.

In this latest edition of our alumni spotlight, meet Dr. Oladapo. Read about emigrating to the US, attending Trinity, the importance of social connections, and his ongoing balance of practice and medical education.

What brought you into medicine?

I came from West Africa, Nigeria specifically. I spent nearly 20 years there before I came to the United States. We saw a lot of economic disparity back home, minimal access to care for so many people, so that’s something that was always on my mind growing up. I wanted to help out and saw the people who made the greatest impact were the doctors. Early on, I knew that’s what I had to do, I wanted to become a physician. In 2001, I came to the US (my parents were already living outside Atlanta). Shortly after, I started my pre-medical education at the University of Georgia studying biochemistry. My parents are Gnosis, so I’ve always been taught to keep the well-being of others at top of mind, to provide care where I can and educate myself. It was a large influence on my ambition to practice.

What brought you to Trinity?

I actually transferred to Trinity in 2010, initially I started at another school in Aruba. There was a financial meltdown [sic] at that school, and as a result of that, I couldn’t continue. My connection to Trinity came through Georgia [ed. Trinity’s administrative offices are outside Atlanta, GA]. 

(Picture left: Dr. Oladapo with fellow Trinity grad Dr. Devon Charlton)

I really loved what the school offered, the curriculum, the culture, the loan programs, all of it. I spoke to Mr. Keith Hollers [director of student services] and Dr. Miller [registrar and former admissions team member]. The school, especially Mr. Hollers, was very supportive. No matter what I needed, they were always there and still are today. After my residency, I was the first graduate to apply for a license in Indiana. Mr. Hollers even attended my board assessment in a show of support. Chancellor Skelton and Dean Adkison have been great mentors and provide excellent support. Not only was I granted my license by the medical board, Trinity was given early independent board approval. Going to Trinity was, in the end, just a huge success for me. I was a transfer, but I graduated with the charter class in 2012.

You transferred at the start of clinical rotations. What was that like for you?

As you said, because I didn’t go to St. Vincent at all, my experience is a bit different than some of my classmates. Doing clinical clerkships alongside the inaugural class was great.  Adrian Garcia, MD [pictured above, left, with Dr. Oladapo, Trinity grad Dr. Agon Kajmolli in blue, and a hospital colleague in green.] and I actually did our residencies at Metrohealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio and he’s a great friend. Similarly, for me there was [Trinity grad] Dr. Christian Schuman, and others we pretty much lived together through rotations. My Trinity classmates were collegial and welcoming. I felt integrated into the group right away. I keep saying it, but I just felt so supported by the school the entire way. From the attention I got from the attendings during my clerkships to Dr. Skelton guiding us through the match, Trinity wasn’t just a school, it really felt like family.

What did you end up specializing in?
I matched into psychiatry in 2013. Psychiatry always stuck with me after my early rotations. I felt drawn to the work, both clinical and research. I had the fortune of working at both Atlanta and DeKalb Medical Centers during my electives.

From the doctors I studied under to the patient population we worked with, primarily trauma victims in the inner city with unaddressed mental health and substance abuse issues, it was exactly the sort of care I’d hoped to provide as a physician.

Beyond that, the opportunity to work with them in both in and outpatient settings, see the way the attendings and residents worked with patients, that thorough continuity of care, it became a standard for me that I carry to this day. That, and an earnest curiosity about the operation of, and life’s impact on, the human mind, made psychiatry a great choice for me.

When I started my residency in Cleveland. I knew almost right away during my intern year that although it was very hard work, I loved it, I was very happy. The lifestyle is also conducive to raising a family, an important part of my life.

And where are you now?

I practice inpatient, outpatient, and consultative psychiatric medicine. Because it’s a teaching hospital, I also teach medical students and family medicine residents. The mix of patient care, research, presenting grand rounds, teaching in general, is everything I could have hoped to find in my career. I’m very happy.


Any advice for future Trinity students?

My advice for future and current students is this: medical school is never a barrier. It doesn’t matter where you go if you receive a solid education. I think that medical education is a worldwide standard, and Trinity more than meets those standards. It’s an excellent opportunity and you will feel support there that no other school can give you. 

However, above all else: I would say work very hard, know where you come from, why you wanted to be a doctor in the first place. The program, support, and curriculum at Trinity? The numbers speak to themselves, every specialty you could think of, there we are. I think Trinity, the success they have is amazing; within the last ten years it’s unbelievable. It really all comes down to you, though.

And when you’re in your clerkships, especially that final year, make connections with the attendings, residency programs, all of it. Be sincere, but remember that networking is really important. You will be surprised at the difference it makes in getting a residency when you apply. More specifically, always be on time! And take good care of yourself, make good friends (which is easy at Trinity). Finally, just enjoy the ride!

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