Meet George Agyapong from Ghana, Africa. He attended Harvard Medical School, and is a PGY-2 in the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program.
What led you to pursue a career in medicine?
I grew up in a strong supportive environment in Ghana, which nurtured a sense of communal duty in me. I lost my mother as a young boy, but my extended family took me in and gave me access to college education, despite unique challenges that befell our family in Ghana. I came to appreciate the dire healthcare needs in my community during my clinical experiences in pharmacy school in Ghana. I wanted to connect directly with patients and do more to support them. So, I took a second chance when I moved to the US and took a non-traditional post-bacc path to become a doctor, 12 years after earning my pharmacy degree in Ghana.
What are your goals after you complete residency? Where do you see yourself?
My research interests include biomarker discovery in chronic liver diseases, health disparities, and under-representation in clinical studies. So I will pursue additional training to hone and leverage skills in clinical-translational research and community engagement to address disparities in chronic liver disease.
Why did you choose Yale IMed for your residency?
After all the dust settled, my gut feeling about Yale was grounded in the fact that my program had dedicated leadership in community engagement, even in the diverse trainees and faculty that I interacted with. I knew that I would thrive here and train along with people who value community-engaged clinical practice, research, and innovation.
Describe your experience at Yale IMed in 3 words.
Growth, opportunity, invested.
What is your fondest memory at Yale thus far?
The moment that one of my most-admired preceptors saw my full, mask-free face, and passed a light comment, which was a timely antidote to my adrenaline surge as I stood at the podium to give my first noon conference in intern year. I relaxed and grounded myself in the collegial culture that I witness in my program every day.
Who has had the greatest influence on you, and why?
Countless many fans, including my family, basic school teachers, and mentors! My family and basic school teachers saw what I could not have imagined for myself—that I could become a medical doctor even after I lost my chance to become one in Ghana; they gave me a reason to take chances, including second chances before and during medical school, when all else seems lost.
If you could say anything to your younger self, what would you say?
If you must suffer on your path to growth, please suffer well but not alone; chances are there is a close source of inspiration around you amidst all the noise. So, check in and rediscover yourself from time to time.
What's a fun fact about you?
I sing, solo Baritone and choral, and had the privilege of performing the national anthem at a few military ceremonies during my service in the US Army Reserve.
What is one piece of advice you'd give someone who is applying for residency?
Do not screen yourself out of opportunities or any places before they do [at their loss].
What have been your biggest challenges and accomplishments since the beginning of the pandemic?
My biggest challenge during the beginning of the pandemic was having to postpone celebrations and travel plans after my 12-year post-bacc medical school journey. Still, I remain grateful for the chance to witness life and its gifts—seeing my son gracefully expand his vocab, enjoying new connections here in New Haven, and finding a supportive space to initiate a new mentoring program for underrepresented premed students.
The Department of Internal Medicine at Yale is among the nation's premier departments, bringing together an elite cadre of clinicians, investigators and educators in one of the world's top medical schools. To learn more, visit Internal Medicine.