Growing up as the second of four children in the bustling city of Lagos, Nigeria, Timilehin Oluseye, MD, embarked on a remarkable journey that shaped the person he is today.
“My deep-seated desire to make a difference in people’s lives and my unwavering commitment to saving lives led me on a path to becoming a physician,” he says. “This choice, while distinct from my family’s legacy of surgeons, felt like the right one. However, I faced uncertainty about how to merge my extroverted nature with the practice of medicine, a quest that required me to complete medical school.”
Nigeria, with its limited medical school slots and a growing population of aspiring students, posed a challenge. Dr. Oluseye graduated with degrees in microbiology and immunology in 2007 and 2008 and contemplated pursuing his medical studies abroad.
“Russia presented itself as an option, though my family had reservations about sending their extroverted child to a distant, cold and unfamiliar land,” Dr. Oluseye says. “Yet, my faith in a higher purpose guided me, and I embarked on a journey to Russia to study medicine.”
Adapting to this new environment was challenging, and Dr. Oluseye even considered returning home after just two months.
“However, life took an unexpected turn when I formed deep connections with fellow Christians from around the world, uniting for a common cause,” he says. “We ventured into medical outreaches, spreading the gospel and providing care to underserved communities in southern Russia. My role as a worship leader in this ministry further strengthened my commitment to medicine and community development.”
This transformative experience in Russia propelled Dr. Oluseye toward his career as a family medicine physician with an emphasis on the value of communication and fostering relationships within diverse communities.
“What I thought was a personal choice to study in Russia turned out to be a higher calling, as I met my wife and partner there,” Dr. Oluseye says. “Together, we sang, ministered and used our musical talents to connect with people from various backgrounds.”
His path was not without challenges, and Dr. Oluseye encountered racism and adversity when studying in a country where many had limited exposure to diversity. However, those experiences taught him resilience, perseverance and courage.
Following his clinical training in Russia, Dr. Oluseye continued his medical education in Houston, where he completed clinical rotations and medical licensing exams.
“The dream of securing a residency in the U.S. seemed unattainable after numerous unsuccessful attempts,” he says. “Fears and anxieties started to creep in, and I was on the brink of giving up.”
One revelation changed all that.
“I saw myself in a boardroom filled with residents and students in a rural setting, a vision that reassured me of my mission,” Dr. Oluseye says. “With newfound determination, I shifted my focus to the Caribbean, completing my internship and fulfilling all the requirements to practice as a physician in England.”
He then settled as a general practitioner in the United Kingdom. He continued to gain experience in various medical fields including geriatrics and gastroenterology. He continued to apply for U.S. residency, year after year.
“Finally, after five years of relentless effort and over 500 rejections, I received the news that I had matched into LSU Rural Family Medicine at Our Lady of the Angels in Bogalusa,” Dr. Oluseye says. “This remarkable turn of events occurred just four months into my marriage. A year later, my spouse joined me in the program, and together, we became licensed physicians in England, the Caribbean and resident physicians in Bogalusa, Louisiana.”
Dr. Oluseye’s story is a testament to the power of faith, unwavering determination and perseverance.
“Despite the countless obstacles, I held on to my dreams and never gave up,” he says. “It was no coincidence that the program I joined was affiliated with a missionary hospital, Our Lady of the Angels.”
Dr. Oluseye hopes his journey will serve as a source of inspiration and motivation for the Bogalusa High School students when he shared his story during A Day with the Angels.
“Regardless of the circumstances, with courage, resilience and unwavering faith, we can triumph over life’s challenges and make a positive impact on the world,” Dr. Oluseye says.