Proust questionnaire: Boluwaji Ogunyemi, MD

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 59, No. 2, March 2017, Page 138 Proust for Physicians

What profession might you have pursued, if not medicine?
Either politics or journalism. I have always been passionate about working with people and I am fascinated by their stories. I also enjoy contributing to change on a personal and system-wide level, and I think this is possible with medicine and either of these alternative careers.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I were more artistic. My brother and sister have artistic skills but that gene bypassed me.

Who are your heroes?
My parents, Mary and Abayomi Ogunyemi. They are the most hardworking, courageous, and loving individuals I have ever known and I am truly blessed to have been raised by them. The example they set and the lessons and love they have shown me have made me the person I am today.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Deplore would be a strong word; however, the frequency with which I check social media could be reduced.

Which living physician do you most admire?
It’s a tie. My father is a professor of neurology and epileptologist at Memorial University of Newfoundland. A Mayo Clinic–trained professor, husband, and father of three, he is dedicated to his patients and his profession while always being there for the family. And as a fellowship-trained electroencephalographer, some say he can even tell what a patient has eaten for breakfast by reading their EEG. My fiancée is a family medicine resident based in Surrey and Langley whom I also admire tremendously.

What is your favorite activity?
Any time spent with family or friends. As for specific hobbies, I enjoy writing. I prefer to write about medical sociology, the history of medicine, and topics related to ethnicity, diversity, and inclusion. These days I am also excitedly planning my wedding.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I think that my laughter may be one of my most well-known characteristics. I often laugh quite loudly and uncontrollably. In high school I was named “most likely to die laughing.” May there always be more laughter!

What do you most value in your colleagues?
Collegiality and an ability to laugh at themselves, be team players, and be willing to help each other out, especially during difficult times. Making an effort and always trying to do better are important characteristics as well. Many of my colleagues—physicians, nurses, hospital administrative staff, and others—espouse these characteristics.

Who are your favorite writers?
Nigerian American scholar Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as well as American anthropologist Nina Jablonski. These books have also stuck with me: The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho), Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston), and Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe).

How would you like to die?
In my sleep. I figure they will bury me next to either Jimi Hendrix or Freddie Mercury.

What is your motto?
One of my favorite quotes is an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This speaks to teamwork, camaraderie, and collegiality, and I find that it holds true for most of life’s endeavors. 


Dr Ogunyemi is the chief dermatology resident at UBC and director of communications of Resident Doctors of BC. He has served on the board of directors of the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA), the Canadian Professors of Dermatology, and was co-chair of the CDA Resident and Fellows Society. He completed medical school at Memorial University of Newfoundland. While his professional interests include ethnic skin and hair disorders, his personal interests include writing, sports, and travel.

Boluwaji Ogunyemi, MD. Proust questionnaire: Boluwaji Ogunyemi, MD. BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 2, March, 2017, Page(s) 138 - Proust for Physicians.

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