Jan. 26, 2011
WASHINGTON - Since Philip Oladeji (Plano, Texas/East Plano) was a child, his mother's advice to him and his brothers, to never settle for average, has pushed him to excel. Since then his accomplishments speak to his ability to follow that motto, as Oladeji had made an impact on the football field and in the community.
Oladeji, a two-year starter at running back, led Georgetown's football team in rushing for the past two seasons and capped off his career earning Academic All Patriot League honors following his senior year. But while Oladeji was playing a key role in helping Georgetown's football program improve by four wins, he was also helping build the Minority Health Initiative Group (MHIG) at the School of Nursing and Health Studies (NHS).
"It just takes you challenging yourself," Oladeji said about the grueling hours spent between football, his nursing curriculum and the chair position with the MHIG. "It's been tough, but it's really rewarding, so it's worth it."
The origin of the group goes back to Martin Luther King Day in 2010, as an academic advisor Brian Floyd, called together 12 NHS students to talk about their experiences.
"We had a discussion about Dr. King's Legacy and the discussion eventually moved to the student experiences here at Georgetown as minorities," Oladeji said. "During the discussion we decided that something had to be done to support the current and prospective students experiences here as health majors."
With support from Floyd and Andre Wright, Oladeji and the group of students approached the administration about supporting the formation of the MHIG. The group was approved and began building last spring with a mission of reducing the disparities of good health practices among minority groups through health education and training and research and community outreach.
"Traditionally speaking, minorities lack family members who are prominent in these fields and therefore lack the realization that these fields are within reach for minorities, but by starting this group we hope that we can inspire people to strive for these positions, ultimately leading to more minority health professionals treating people in minority communities and handling diseases that afflict locals," Oladeji said.
As the chairperson of the group, Oladeji provides a strong role model, combining his success on the athletic field with his desire to make a difference in the world through his chosen profession.
He was front and center in the beginning of the year, as the MHIG held a meet and greet event where current and prospective students were invited to meet the members of the group as well as NHS faculty. Since then they have been proactive in getting involved in the community.
"We participated in the DC AIDS walk last year, raising funds for the Whitman Walker Clinic," Oladeji said. "We also participate in community service at St. Martin's Church in Washington, D.C., offering blood pressure and blood glucose screening and health education to members of the church."
The MHIG will also be co-sponsoring an event that will bring Rochelle Rollins, the Director of Policy and Data for the Office of Minority Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to speak to students on campus.
Oladeji carried the ball 17 times for 71 yards and a touchdown to help Georgetown defeat Marist, 14-7 on Nov. 20, the season-finale, and the final game of his career. Since then he has had much more time to devote to the Minority Health Initiative Group, but with his graduation looming Oladeji has begun to focus on the future of the still-growing group, as well as his own post-college future.
"Right now, we're trying to plan for students to participate in leadership roles for the future," Oladeji said. "For myself, I just want to get a job as a nurse and hopefully get into a Master's program or as a nurse practitioner and possibly go to medical school."