This mother-daughter doctor duo are making history by undergoing residency training together.
Cynthia and Jasmine Kudji are the first mother and daughter to attend medical school simultaneously and match with a residency program at the same hospital, according to Cynthia's medical school.
Jasmine attended medical school at Louisiana State University in her hometown of New Orleans, while Cynthia attended The University of Medicine and Health Sciences based on the island of St. Kitts. They both matched with LSU Health in New Orleans for their residencies.
Cynthia is originally from Ghana and came to the United States at age 2, according to UMHS. She took a non-traditional path to becoming a doctor that started when she became pregnant with Jasmine as a 23-year-old student. At that time, she had to put her dream of becoming a doctor on hold, she told UMHS.
Instead, Cynthia became a nurse and worked for nearly a decade until a life-changing trip to visit relatives in Ghana, she told UMHS.
During the trip, while caring for a stranger's sick baby without proper medical supplies, Cynthia felt inspired to help others by becoming a physician.
She decided to pursue a career in family medicine internationally at UMHS at the same time Jasmine was studying to be a surgeon at LSU.
“I think initially it was difficult because my mom and I have always been really close so I had to get used to the distance, we had to learn how to FaceTime and Skype each other, so we were Skyping each other every day and whenever I had struggles and she had struggles, we just had to learn to communicate from a distance,” Jasmine told UMHS.
But after completing their schooling, the two were thrilled to find they were both matched at LSU Health for their residencies.
"I’m so very, very blessed and grateful to have my daughter,” Cynthia said told UMHS.
“I just think she’s smart and beautiful and it’s been such a tremendous blessing to have her when I was studying."
"I always tell people we laugh together, we study together, we cry together,” Jasmine said.
“I think medical school is one of those experiences that you don’t truly understand until you’re in it. Sometimes people struggle to find someone who relates to their struggles, so for that person to be my mom was extremely helpful.”
The two are both passionate about helping patients during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly communities of color which have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.
“I think this is going to be a pivotal time for our physicians to promote positive change in our healthcare system, and it will give us a chance to really express our concerns and I think this time around, it will be received better," Jasmine told UMHS.
You can follow the two at their blog, The M.D. Life, here.