Interview with Dr. Uchenna Umeh
On this week’s episode of the PNC podcast, Dr. Uchenna Umeh, also known as “Dr. Lulu” and the “Momatrician,” describes how you can find a career that you really love.
Uchenna spent the early part of her career in a traditional pediatric practice. When she decided she needed a change of pace, she enlisted in the Air Force. She completed her time there, and entered traditional practice. But she was struck by the extent of the mental health issues in her patients and experienced a harsh wake-up call when a young patient of hers attempted suicide.
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Direct Primary Care
Several colleagues and a relative of Uchenna's also attempted to end their lives. She felt she was being called to a higher purpose. After seeing the positive response she received when speaking on the topic at her son’s school, she left “penicillin pediatrics” and focused her efforts on helping troubled teens.
Your best legacy might very well be the one that you haven't even looked into.
She honed her message, and started speaking regularly on the topics of bullying, depression and mental health issues in children and teens. She provided telemedicine services to make ends meet between speaking engagements. And she realized that she also wanted help to individual patients. So, she opened her direct primary care (DPC) practice to families with struggling teenagers.
Depression vs. Mental Anguish
During our conversation, Uchenna makes an important distinction between depression and mental anguish, using an example from her personal life. Depression, she says, is misconstrued as the primary cause of suicide, when mental anguish is often the underlying trigger. Much of it is situational, rather than biochemical. Hence, the question shouldn’t be “Why do you want to end your life?” but rather, “What happened?”
By sharing stories and asking the right questions, Uchenna’s patients find they can overcome such challenges.
We're united by our storylines. We are connected by our storylines. What if you talk about yours, I talk about mine, and we also are talking about ours?
Design a Career That You Really Love, Too
Uchenna has a small but significant practice working exclusively with troubled children. Her patients make appointments with her as they need, and call her cell phone in a crisis. She sees patients three days a week, leaving two days for her writing, traveling and podcasting. She believes that you can follow her example to find a career that you really love, too.
Uchenna continues seeing patients and is expanding her writing and speaking. She started her podcast, Suicide Pages, to shed light on these issues. There, she interviews guests who have faced and overcome their struggles.
“Dr. Lulu” has also written two books, How to Raise Well-Rounded Children (Dr. Lulu's “How To” Series Book 1) and A Teen's Life: Looking at Teen's Lives Through Their Daily Struggles. The former is about raising children using eager and open communication. The latter is a look into the lives of struggling teens.
Thanks for listening today. I appreciate your interest and support. Next week, join me and Dr. Andrew Wilner as he explains why he loves the locum life! Maybe you can use locums to create the career that you really love, too.
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Thanks to our sponsor…
Thanks to the UT Physician Executive MBA program for sponsoring the show. It’s an outstanding, highly rated, MBA program designed for working physicians. It is just what you need to prepare for that fulfilling, well-paying career. You can find out more at nonclinicalphysicians.com/physicianmba.
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