To mark Black History Month we're celebrating the achievements and contributions of some of our UCO Community.
Today we talk to Albert Obeng, recent graduate and winner of the UCO Gold Medal, about his osteopathic journey.
Tell us a little about your route into osteopathy...
I got into osteopathy after chanced conversation with another osteopath black osteopath who convinced me to change course. Until then, I had never heard about osteopathy and wanted to be a physio after being medically discharged from an injury sustained during my service in the army. This guy sold the profession to me really well and and told me “we need more “brothers” in the profession”. I was somehow adamant on the physio dream but a seed was sewn in me after the conversation that only continued to grow.
Tell us a little about your time at the UCO. What were your personal highlights?
I thoroughly enjoyed and do miss my time at the UCO. From what I observed, the majority of the students shared the value of being healthy (whether that was in their fitness, nutrition, meditation, etc). It was refreshing to be around such like minded people fighting for a common cause - to be better and help others in their quest to do so. I was a bit of a conversationalist and people's person an that meant I learnt a lot from conversations with other students. Some of my personal highlights were sports day events, the UCO centenary ball and getting through the last two years despite some personal challenges.
What do you most enjoy about being an osteopath?
The opportunity to make real impact in the lives of others. That title comes with a privilege but also a responsibility to be better. You can only give what you have right? So to me being an osteopath has helped me to be more conscious of and work towards attaining balance in all aspects of my life. We give a lot this profession in terms of knowledge, energy, emotions, etc and I want to be able to give from a place of abundance. Hence, being an osteopath has taught me that I can not rest on my laurels. I have to keep learning, improving so I can give the very best to my patients.
What qualities do you think make a good osteopath?
Empathy, be a willing learner, be a reflective practitioner.
What is next for you? What are your plans and ambitions for the future?
Establish a thriving practice in the next couple of years and pioneer osteopathy in sub-Saharan Africa. Also I want to help increase awareness of osteopathy and it’s benefits amongst young people, especially those of ethnic minority background. There are thousands of young, intelligent and athletic ethnic minority boys and girls who are unaware of osteopathy. Hopefully, by increasing awareness amongst this demography they can channel some of those attributes into pursuing a career in this wonderful profession.
What do you think could/should be done to encourage more black people into the profession?
Most black people have never heard of the profession so increasing awareness of the profession would be a start. Obviously it’s a white dominant profession so making black people feel like they belong once they enter the profession would also help.