Ami Kumordzie (M.D.’16 M.B.A.’ 17) knew from a young age that she wanted to become a healer. Kumordzie is originally from Ghana and grew up in Austin, Texas, before attending Johns Hopkins University for her undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering. The summer before starting her first year of medical school, she biked 4,000 miles from Baltimore to California in order to raise money for charity. In this edition of Glam Grads, The Daily talked with Kumordzie about her inspirations and the path that led her to pursue healthcare entrepreneurship.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): What are some highlights of your experience as an M.D./M.B.A. student at Stanford?
Ami Kumordzie (AK): I’ve been able to take some incredible classes here on campus. These classes range from hard skills such as financing and accounting to softer skills, such as interpersonal dynamics and effective communication. I was also fortunate enough to be in a student group called TALK, which is a weekly gathering here at the [Graduate School of Business] where we have a classmate come up and tell their life story. For me, this is one of the most special [parts] about being a student here. There’s an openness in this community that [allows] students to share so openly who we are, where we come from and what we hope to achieve.
TSD: What parts of the Stanford community contributed the most to your growth as a student and helped you further your passion?
AK: I don’t know who I would be if I didn’t attend Stanford. I feel so lucky to [have been] able to spend such critical years of my life here. The support here is unparalleled. I’ve had advisors and [faculty] who were willing to bend over backwards to help me with whatever it is that I needed help with. Also, the resources that were available to me [were] unbelievable. The way I think of it is that attending Stanford is like eating at a buffet: there’s no limit to anything.
TSD: What is keeping you motivated to improve the healthcare system and bettering the lives of others?
AK: What kept me motivated [were] the experiences that I was fortunate enough to have in medical school–being there when a patient of mine took their last breath, being the first person to hold a newborn baby. When I think back to those people and experiences, they really have left a deep mark on my soul. At the end of the day, I am able to have these images in my mind of people who would benefit from the work I am doing.
TSD: What was a memorable experience that had the biggest impact on you?
AK: It’s something small, but I still view it as my greatest accomplishment. I met a patient who has been to the hospital multiple times and his providers never bothered to ask him, “What matters the most to you in your care?” So one day at the hospital, it was late at night and I was tempted to leave without asking him the question, but something in me said, “No, do the right thing.” After asking him, I realized that the care he was seeking wasn’t the care he was receiving. So we went back and fixed all the issues and [were] able to get all his medical records updated.
Why does this moment stick with me as my greatest accomplishment? Well, it was an experience that taught me the value of integrity and just doing the right thing even when it’s late and you’re unmotivated. It also made me realize that a small action or taking an extra step could have a huge impact on someone’s life. This experience sparked my interest in healthcare entrepreneurship and was the inspiration for some of the health care projects that I worked on at the GSB.
TSD: Could you talk about a current healthcare-related project you’re working on?
AK:I just recently graduated and will be starting a job in the fall. But there is a project that I am kind of wrapping up. It’s a project related to global health and education. I’m currently working as a student ambassador for a group called Digital MEdIC. It’s a group dedicated to bringing medical education resources to people around the globe. The group that I am working with [is] focused on bringing these resources to the country of Rwanda. Through some of the work I did with Digital MEdIC and meeting the students in Rwanda, I could sort of see my counterparts who were just as smart, motivated and passionate about health care as I was, but they didn’t have the books and materials. This was something I really wanted to address because I believe if you’re smart, driven and motivated, the barrier shouldn’t be the lack of resources.
TSD: Do you have any future career goals in mind?
AK: As of the moment, I’m still trying to figure it out. But I will probably continue working with healthcare-related nonprofit organizations. And since education is such a core value for me, I also want to continue volunteering for nonprofit organizations like Digital MEdIC. This will allow me to help people who are in need and helps me continue my role as a healer.
TSD: What is the best advice you can give to students who are interested in medical entrepreneurship?
AK: My biggest piece of advice is to not check boxes. An example could be someone who is trying to get into medical school. There are a lot of boxes you have to check such as getting good grades, doing research, shadowing and a lot more. So what I would advise you on doing is to check your own boxes and just pursue what you’re really passionate about. Just think about what what matters to you most and what you’re interested in, and just do things because of that. Don’t allow others to pressure you into doing something that you have no interest for just for the sake of checking boxes.
Contact Duc Le at ducletan77 ‘at’ gmail.com.