DR. adanna AKU­JUO

Albany Times Union - - FAITH & VALUES -

Back­ground: She was born in Brook­lyn when her par­ents were grad­u­ate stu­dents, and she grew up in La­gos, the for­mer cap­i­tal city of Nige­ria. Af­ter she grad­u­ated from high school, her fam­ily re­turned to this coun­try. She is a car­dio­tho­racic sur­geon, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at Al­bany Med­i­cal Col­lege and pres­i­dent of the Cap­i­tal Re­gion Ad­vi­sory Board of the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion.

Your fam­ily’s story of im­mi­gra­tion is an un­usual one.

My par­ents came to the United States for col­lege, my fa­ther at Howard Univer­sity and my mother at Brook­lyn Col­lege. They were mar­ried here and got their mas­ter’s de­grees in New York City. When I was 11 months old, they took me back to Nige­ria. Re­turn­ing home was a great thing for them. But just be­fore I fin­ished high school, the coun­try was taken over by a mil­i­tary regime. My fa­ther, who was a banker, lost his po­si­tion as part of the coup. There was ri­ot­ing in the streets. The Amer­i­can govern­ment ad­vised its cit­i­zens to re­turn to the United States. We went to the Amer­i­can em­bassy at five o’clock in the morn­ing. My fa­ther came here right away. Two weeks later, my mom said, “We may be go­ing to Amer­ica to­mor­row.” She sold the car, and the next day, my mother, one of my broth­ers and I were on a plane

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