Cover Photo: Dr. Carl Allamby talks to a patient about their medical history in the emergency department at Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital. Allamby recently started working as an ER resident at Akron General. He’s a former mechanic and business owner who decided to become a doctor while in his 40s. July 8, 2019 (Gus Chan / The Plain Dealer)
Carl Allamby started working on cars early in life and became a heck of a mechanic. From working on cars in parking lots, he grew to owning his own business. But he auctioned off all his business assets in one day, used his savings and took out student loans in order to complete medical school this year at age 47. Not only is this a feel-good story but an important one — America has a severe shortage of Black male medical doctors and each one counts.
Allamby had been running his car repair business for some time when he decided that he needed more education to grow as a businessman. He enrolled in night classes to earn his business degree. Being good at your trade — fixing cars or making sandwiches — doesn’t always equate to being a solid business owner, after all. He’d aced all of his classes but kept putting off a required course in biology. When he finally took it, however, something was ignited in him. He eventually decided that medicine was for him. With the support of his wife and children, Carl started the tough road towards becoming a medical doctor. Through hard work and dedication, he was a star student.
Carl has been selected for a three-year residency in Emergency Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital. Allamby is just one man but represents something much greater. The Association of American Medical Colleges reported that in recent years fewer Black males were applying to and attending medical school than in 1978. Further, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, less than 6% of medical school graduates nationally identify as Black. This matters. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that Black men were more likely to share details with Black doctors and to follow their advice.
Carl Allamby is an exceptional man and will undoubtedly be an amazing physician for years to come. He serves as an example that with hard work and a viable plan, any dream can be pursued, regardless of age. Carl also reminds us that Black excellence is what has carried us in the past and it is Black excellence that will pave the way for our future.