NIGERIAN-BORN DOCTOR BENNET OMALU RECEIVES HIGHEST AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION AWARD

​ Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu is a Nigerian American forensic pathologist born in September 1968. It was him, who, as aneuropathologist working with the Allegheny County Coroner’s Office, examined the brains of many deceased NFL players and was the first person ever to publish findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players. He is the central character that is portrayed by Will Smith in the film titled Concussion (2015).

He later became the chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, California. He is also a professor at the Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of California, Davis.

Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu was born at Nnokwa, in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, in southeastern geo-political zone of Nigeria. He is the sixth, out of seven siblings. His parents gave birth to him, during during the Nigeria’s Civil War, a situation that forced his family to flee from their home situate in the predominantly Igbo village of Enugwu-Ukwu, in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State, southeastern geo-political zone of Nigeria. They returned back home to their village two years after Omalu’s birth day. Omalu’s mother was a seamstress and his father a civil mining engineer and community leader in Enugwu-Ukwu. The family name, Omalu, is a shortened form of the surname, Onyemalukwube, which means “If anyone knows, let him/she, speak.”

Omalu started school at a very tender age of three. At the end of his primary education, he entered secondary school, which he had at the Federal Government College Enugu. Thereafter, he attended medical school which he started at the age of 16 at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. After graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M. B., B. S.) in June 1990, he did his clinical internship, and then got a job. He worked for a period of three years in Jos, Plateau State of Nigeria. When he was interviewed by a journalist; Jeanne Marie Laskas, Omalu told her that he became disillusioned with Nigeria after presidential candidate Moshood Abiola was denied the Nigerian presidency due to an inconclusive election in 1993. He began to search for scholarship opportunities in the United States. He traveled to Seattle, United State in the year 1994. There, he completed an epidemiology fellowship at the University of Washington. In the year 1995, he left Seattle for New York City. There, he joined Columbia University’s Harlem Hospital Center for a residency training program in anatomic and clinical pathology.

After his residency, Omalu trained as a forensic pathologist under a well known forensic consultant Cyril Wecht at the Allegheny County Coroner’s Office in Pittsburgh. This was where Omalu became interested in neuropathology.

Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu is a holder is a total of eight advanced degrees and board certifications, He received: fellowships in pathology and neuropathology from the University of Pittsburgh in the year 2000 and 2002 respectively, a Masters Degree in Public Health (MPH) & Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in the year 2008. Omalu serves as chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, California and is a professor in the UC Davis Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Research on CTE. Source: Wikipedia .

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