I am Oriaku Kas-Osoka and yes, it’s a mouthful but I love it. I am known as Dr. Kas to my patients and colleagues and Ori to my friends and family. I have never been one to be formal, but in a professional setting I tend to stick with Dr. Kas. Anyway, welcome to my blog! Thanks for coming by and checking in on my content. What this blog is versus what it is not:
- Views are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer
- There will be some medical content, but primarily from my perspective (and often backed up by statistics) and not entirely the focus of the blog
- Struggles I face despite being a successful physician (we all face challenges)
- Sometimes just outright fun content, jokes I heard or even funny encounters I have had (everyone’s sense of humor is different, but trust me the stories will be engaging)
Alright, onto my life story (short version). I was born and raised in California. For those that are familiar with Northern California, I was born in Oakland and raised in San Jose (spent my school years here). I am Nigerian-American and if you are not sure what this embodies, it is strict parents who expect nothing more than success. Oh and parents who were born and raised in Nigeria and later came to the US to give their children a better life. I am constantly reminded of these sacrifices (very real and true statement, but I wouldn’t trade what my parents did for us). I am one of 8 children, 7 of us sharing the same mother and father. We grew up together, we fought together, we cried together, and we made it TOGETHER. Just a little brag on my family, before I move on. My parents are awesome parents, to this day. They raised kids who beat the odds and graduated from college with 6 of us receiving or in pursuit of a professional degree. If you only knew how far we have come. I still don’t know how my parents did it. I told them they needed to write a book.
Let’s talk schooling! I finished HS at the top of my class, even though many people told me I would never go to college unless it was on a sports scholarship (I was a great volleyball and basketball player as well as a talented track star back in the day). I set out to prove them wrong. I ended up attending University of California, San Diego on scholarship/grants. In my second year of college, I received the Gates Millennium Scholarship (it was the inaugural year) and BAM, just like that school was paid for through completion of my degree. So, what did I major in, Bioengineering of course, with a Pre-Med focus. Although this is what I studied, I wasn’t initially thinking of going to med school. I wasn’t the kid who knew at age 5 that they were going to be a doctor. I wanted to build and develop prosthesis, or so I thought. I worked in a lab and enjoyed what I was doing and who I was working with but hated being in a lab. I got stressed trying to decide what I wanted to do. I went to tons of career counseling sessions until one hit me hard, talking about medical school and being a doctor. I laugh now thinking about this because my dad literally told me this was what I was going to be when I grew up. I finally gave in.
The MCATs discouraged me. I believed I wasn’t a good standardized test taker, so I couldn’t overcome it. My score was low, but I believed that God would take me in whatever direction I was meant to go. I applied and I got in, not to just one school but many. When I tell you, I have been and am blessed, I speak truth. I attended the DREW/UCLA Medical Education Program which is a medical education program that is supported by both Charles Drew University and UCLA. The stories I can tell of the craziness that is medical school, but I digress! I met amazing friends and mentors during this time. I remember meeting our Dean and thinking, ‘How can I be like her one day?’ This began the insight into my journey. I loved medical school because it was where I discovered and polished my love for Pediatrics. It was an easy decision to train in Pediatrics. Kids are amazing, resilient, and funny. I couldn’t have asked for more.
Match Day (this is the day your fate is decided) came and again I was blessed to be able to return back home and train at the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. My class was awesome. Some of my closest friends to this day, I met during these years. Boy did we work hard. Three years came and went before I knew it. Decision time again, what’s next? I was tired, even a little burnt out, so I opted to go into the workforce before fellowship. I decided late on going into fellowship, but it was the best decision. I entered into the workforce as a general pediatrician and enjoyed working with my colleagues and learning from my patients. I wanted and needed more than what I was doing, so that year reinforced my desire to go into fellowship.
Fellowship took me to Cincinnati where I trained in Adolescent Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. This was a true culture shock. Halfway through the first year, I was ready to go back home. But of course, I was reminded of those earlier sacrifices (yes, my parents said no!). I made it and in doing so I obtained another degree. I received my Master’s in Medical Education from the University of Cincinnati. I am most proud of this accomplishment as it equipped me with the tools to be successful in the work I do now. I loved being in Adolescent Medicine and had no doubt I made the right decision for my career. Again, three years went by, sometimes not fast enough and other times quicker than I realized. I finished fellowship and sought out to find a job. I was coming back to the West Coast even if it I had to settle for less than I wanted. Luckily this wasn’t the case!
My Life Today
I landed a great job at UNR School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus as an Adolescent Medicine Physician for the Pediatric Residency Program. We eventually transitioned to the UNLV School of Medicine, once it opened in 2017. I am happily a part of faculty, running the residency program, and practicing as the only Adolescent Medicine Physician in Las Vegas. That pretty much sums up my story. For reference, this is the short version. There is a lot more to tell but I wanted to give you the abbreviated version (lol…not really that short, huh?). Wait, I forgot the best part – I am newly married, just hitting that one-year mark (September 28th here we come!). No kids yet but wish us luck!
This is me in a nutshell with lots of blood, sweat, and tears along the way. The path was full of peaks and valleys, but I made it. I share this not to brag (well except for the family part), but simply to say that if I can make it so can you. Ask me about my struggles because there were plenty of them. Ask me how I made it, but I am still not sure except that I decided I wasn’t ever giving up. What I love most about what I do is impacting my patients, my trainees, and my colleagues. I make a difference on many levels – as a black physician, a black woman, a first-generation physician, and as someone who was told she wouldn’t make it. So believe in yourself and as I always say, ‘Do better, Be better, Deserve Better!’
If you are interested in impacting my content, send me a message and if it fits, I will talk about it!