Black Star Press: Meet the Car Mechanic Who Just Shifted Gears to Become a Medical Doctor at Age 47
Allamby, who grew up in East Cleveland, started working at an auto parts store at the age of 16. He eventually ran his own business repairing cars and selling used cars. His customers liked his work and his business was booming. That's when he decided to enroll in college to take a business course.
In 2006, decades after he finished high school, he started taking night classes at Ursuline College. But he put off taking a biology course thinking it wasn't needed for his business. He only enrolled in the biology class when he was told that it was a requirement for him to graduate. He never knew that it would make him change his path.
His biology professor, Dr. Micah Watts, inspired him to consider a career in medicine. He said he once dreamed of being a doctor when he was a child but he put aside. One of the reasons why he didn't pursue it at first is the lack of black doctors as role models for him to emulate.
After earning a business degree with a 3.98 GPA, Allamby began taking basic science courses at Cuyahoga Community College and got his second undergraduate degree from Cleveland State University. He continued his studies at Northeast Ohio Medical University after selling off his auto repair business.
Allamby excelled in all his classes while also being a husband and a father to his two children. He was even appointed by then-Gov. John Kasich to serve as the student representative on the NEOMED Board of Trustees.
Now, Allamby is completing his three-year residency in emergency medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital. He was well-loved due to his amiable personality and outstanding academic records and work ethics. But above all, what could benefit his patients the most is his race.
"There are so many times throughout the different hospitals where I will walk in and (a black patient) will say, 'Thank God there's finally a brother here,'" Allamby told Cleveland.com. "I think you remove a lot of those barriers when there is a person there who looks like you."
Black patients are known to respond better to black doctors. According to a 2018 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, black men were more likely to share details with and heed the advice of black doctors.
But even though 13% of the U.S. population is black, only less than 6% of medical school graduates are black, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Allamby is working to change that. He hopes to encourage more Black children to become doctors.
"When I speak at a junior high or high school, I tell the kids, 'Hey, if you are interested in medicine, reach out to me," he said, "because I will help you as much as I can.'"
Allamby started doing it with his family members, who each pursues a medical profession. His 23-year-old son, Kyle, is a firefighter who is pursuing a paramedic degree. Kyle's twin sister, Kaye, is studying to be a registered nurse. His wife is a physical therapist.
"I have this big business plan," Allamby said, "where my son will bring in the patient, I will save their life, and my wife will rehab them, and my daughter will take care of them while they’re in the hospital. And then they’ll get a free oil change on discharge.