DR. adanna AKUJUO
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