Dr. Jay

Dr. Jay.jpg

Hometown: Boston, MA

Name of Undergraduate Institution: Boston University

Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biology Major

Name of Medical School: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Residency Program

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center / Harvard Medical School Radiology Residency Program

Favorite Quote:   My dad always said this to me as a child: “Aim for the sky, if you don’t get the sky, you’ll always get the roof.

Contact Info: Emailjaneiro.okafor@gmail.com

Additional Links:

I thoroughly enjoy mentoring aspiring-doctors and aspiring-healthcare providers. I run a YouTube channel where I mentor via sharing my unique journey into medicine. I am currently working on a YouTube series titled How To Get GOOD GRADES and so far I have published 6 episodes of it. It’s filled with the tips and tricks that enabled me to excel during my premed and medical education. There are many more episodes in the works. I also plan on creating a similar YouTube series on how I prepared for the USMLE board exams. My goal is to put out content that my mentees and subbies find useful and entertaining. So I definitely encourage anyone looking for a mentor to check out my YouTube channel. Of course, my social media accounts are open to anyone interested as well.

YouTube Channel Imperfectly Me. Dr. Jay

Snapchat ImperfectlyMeMD

Instagram Imperfectly Me. Dr. Jay

Facebook Imperfectly-Me Dr-Jay

Twitter ImperfectlyMeMD

Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?

I am currently a second year resident (PGY2) and a first year radiology resident physician. Honestly, as a child, I always knew I would become a doctor. So the majority of my high school and college activities were all geared towards becoming a doctor. There was no plan B for me. All I wanted to do was take care of sick people and make them feel better. I have always been a nurturing person and everyone’s “motherly-friend”. So becoming a doctor fits very well into my personality. However, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d become a radiologist! I assumed I’d become an Internist, a Family Physician, or a Geriatrician. I honestly did not know such a field existed until my first year of medical school. So how did I fall into this amazing field of radiology? Well, I was that annoying first year anatomy classmate; you know, “the anatomy guru”. I genuinely fell in love with anatomy the first day I open Netter’s anatomy textbook and the first day I walked into the anatomy dissection lab. To say I “love” anatomy is an understatement! I am “in love” with anatomy. As a first year med student, I wanted to know every organ, bone, muscle, vessel, and nerve in the human body. I also really liked the pictures! As I progressed into my second year of medical school, I discovered that I was a visual learner! Everything just made more sense when it was presented as a picture. So because of my love of anatomy, pictures, and medicine, Radiology became the perfect specialty for me. I made the decision to pursue a career as a Radiologist and today I am one.

The beauty of radiology is that I get to practice all the specialties and fields of medicine: including family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, neurology, cardiology, gastroenterology, pulmonary/critical care, obstetrics & gynecology, and all the many different subspecialties of surgery. Almost every human disease and pathology has an imaging finding! I also thoroughly enjoy all the many different minimally invasive procedures that we as radiologists and interventional radiologists perform daily. Yes, radiologists get to provide direct care and treatment to patients too!

If you could go back and have a chat with your 1st year postgraduate self, what would you tell her?

Wow, that is a loaded question! There are soooooo many things I wish I could go back in time to tell my younger self. The most important advice that my younger self needed to know is “don’t give up, you are on the right track.” First year of medical school was extremely challenging! I did not know how handle the large volume of a med school curriculum. It was too much information and I was often overwhelmed by it all.  I attended  a very large medical school (with a class of 245 students).  There was no “teaching”; rather, we were “lectured” not taught. So I needed to learn how to teach myself and how to master the volumes and volumes of medical knowledge. I spent much of my first year being very stressed and frustrated. There were times when I seriously thought “maybe this is not for me”. Thankfully I did not give up. Luckily all of that stress and frustration and multiple cycles of trial and error worked! I finally figured out how I learnt best. I taught myself how to study and the skills I learnt carried me through the remainder of medical school and into residency. [Yes, studying and exams don’t end after your graduate medical school!] I simply wish I could go back and reassure my MS1 self that all of my hard work would eventually pay off. Perhaps I would have been a happier MS1 if I had known this.

How do you manage to balance your work life and your romantic relationship (and family life, if applicable)? 

I met my significant other while I was a second year medical student. We dated long-distance for 2.5 years (between Dallas and Boston) up until I graduated.  I know long distance relationships have a bad rep, but it was very easy for us because we were both very busy. We both barely had any free time so there was never a situation where one party felt like they were intentionally being ignored or not getting enough attention. Honestly, long-distance dating was easier for me as a med student than your typical “short distance” relationship. We face-timed every night from 9:00 till 9:30pm (no more, no less) and he flew in for a weekend visit once every 8 weeks. Just knowing that I had a phone call session every night at 9pm kept me motivated to keep studying throughout the day. It gave me something to look forward too. I honestly did not feel like I needed to “manage or balance” my relationship with school because I had an understanding and equally busy partner. So to all the busy students reading this, if the opportunity for a long distance relationship comes along and that person is equally busy too, don’t shy away from giving it a try. Contrary to popular beliefs, two very busy people can coexist together in a successful long distance relationship.  However, if that person is not busy at all, run! Run! Don’t waste your time. Unless you are confident that this individual can respect that you are a student and will not make you feel guilty for prioritizing your studies.

Our long distance relationship has now come to an end.

Because we are married and now live together in Boston. [Haha, I got you there didn’t I!]. We are both a little less busy than we were before so we have more time to spend with each other. However, he is pursuing his second master’s degree and I still have to study as a resident, so whenever he studies I study too. When we are not studying, we spend quality time with each other. We don’t have any children yet so stay tuned for my change in opinions and perspective once children join the mix. 😉

Do you have any passions outside of treating patients? If so, what are they and how do you find time to pursue these passions?

Oh yes! All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl. I certainly have other passions outside of work. Mentoring is my biggest passion. I mentor because I was fortunate enough to have mentors. I first started mentoring as a college student; now that I am a resident, I still find time to mentor. Right now my focus is mentoring aspiring doctors and healthcare providers. I am a strong believer that knowledge is power and, unfortunately, too many students simply do not have the guidance, mentorship and information that they need. The most unfortunate aspect of this is that many students aren’t even aware of what they do not know, so there is no impetus to go out and seek information. For example, many premed students do not know what the pre-med courses are or that medical schools require a high GPA for admission. By the time they figure this out, it’s often too late. This is why I am passionate about mentoring. In terms of finding time to pursue my passions outside of work; no matter how busy my life gets, I always try to find time to engage in the activities that bring me joy. Even if it's just 10  minutes a day. I find that scheduling things into a specific block of time in my daily planner or into a specific day in my monthly calendar is the most effective way of making out time for it. You simply have to get into the habit of planning and scheduling in order to be a successful multi-tasker and a successful well-rounded person. I touched on this topic in one of my YouTube videos, so I encourage you to check it out! I even provided a daily planner and monthly calendar printable templates that are free to my YouTube mentees and subscribers. In order to attain that “work-life balance” that everyone talks about, you simply have to plan.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love to travel! I never had time to travel while in high school, college and medical school because I was so focused on becoming a doctor. But now that I am finally an MD, I am free to pursue this new passion of mine. Thus far I have traveled to Nigeria, Mexico (twice), Colombia, Spain, Amsterdam, and Ibiza. Next stop is Thailand and Tahiti, which I plan to visit next year in 2017.

In an alternate universe, what career do you think you would be in right now if healthcare wasn’t an option for you?

If healthcare weren’t an option, I’d be an Instagram/YouTube celebrity! Okay, just kidden! I love to hear myself talk and I love advising people so I’ll probably be a motivational speaker in an alternate life. However, becoming a motivational speaker isn’t completely off the table yet. I can certainly be a doctor and a motivational speaker. I also have a little entrepreneurial side that is starting to take root. I am certainly excited to see what the future holds for me. I know I am going to make a huge impact in this world; I just don’t know what it is yet. Only time will tell.

This is simply spectacular Dr. Jay!! I find it incredible that you've made the time to continue mentoring and inspiring so many people who want to be just as successful as you have been! And you can definitely be an Instagram/YouTube celebrity, a motivational speaker while still being a doctor; who says you can't? Like you said yourself, “Aim for the sky, if you don’t get the sky, you’ll always get the roof.” Thank you SO much for taking the time to be featured and for doing everything that you do!!

You are very much appreciated!!

Health Career Spotlights Home Page

Posted on December 1st, 2016