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Helping Child Burn Victims Return to School

August 11, 2021
by Colin Poitras

Dr. Oreoluwa Arowojolu, M.B.B.S., M.P.H. ’23 (Health Care Management), a Yale School of Public Health master’s degree candidate, was recently chosen to receive a Global Citizen Scholarship in recognition of his commitment to health care and desire to open a nonprofit burn center in Nigeria for pediatric patients.

Arowojolu was the grand prize scholarship winner and one of only three finalists out of more than 1,700 applicants representing more than 220 universities. He will receive a $5,000 scholarship from MPOWER Financing, a finance company that provides education loans, scholarships, immigration support and job-search preparation.

A native of Nigeria, Arowojolu earned a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree (the equivalent of an MD degree) from the University of Ibadan in 2019. His medical interests include cancer, heart disease and mental health. He is currently a research affiliate at Lakeshore Cancer Center in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. The center is closely affiliated with Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in Buffalo, New York, and it’s the first operational facility in Nigeria solely dedicated to cancer prevention and treatment.

Arowojolu became interested in helping burn victims after learning that pediatric burn survivors in Nigeria return to school much later than their counterparts in the United States. Many victims drop out of school altogether.

“While conducting research to determine how soon child and adolescent burn survivors in sub-Saharan Africa are able to return to school after sustaining burn injuries, I had the opportunity to speak directly to these children and/or their guardians,” Arowojolu said. “It was heartbreaking to discover that many of these kids are unable to return to their normal lives and functioning due to a lack of access to necessary burn care. Consequently, I look forward to establishing a nonprofit burn center in the near future to care for as many of these kids as possible.”

He hopes to begin a surgical residency program in plastic and reconstructive surgery after obtaining his master’s degree from the YSPH.

Arowojolu is also co-founder of Armack Enterprises, an agribusiness that provides poultry and fish products to underserved areas at affordable prices while employing youth from local communities.

“I truly believe that the MPH program in Health Care Management at Yale School of Public Health [in conjunction with Yale School of Management] will provide me with comprehensive insight into management in the context of health care while equipping me with the invaluable skills needed to improve the health of populations,” he said. “Ultimately, as a physician-researcher-manager, I hope to significantly contribute to improved patient outcomes on a large scale.”

Submitted by Ivette Aquilino on August 10, 2021