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Winifred O. Egbuna

Winifred O. Egbuna, MD

Primary Care Physician
NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Belvis

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Transforming Lives in the South Bronx

Growing up in Nigeria, the daughter of a civil engineer who ran the country’s railway system, Dr. Winifred Egbuna was aware that her family had advantages others did not. Even as a child, she recognized that the most consequential disparity was in their access to health care.

“I saw my neighbors who were poor die at an early age,” she recalls. “From a young age I questioned why people who had money got better health care than those who were poor.”

But no one was immune from the country’s political strife. In 1967, when Dr. Egbuna was five, Nigeria broke into civil war and she remembers the terrifying sound of bombs exploding and the deaths of relatives. Her family fled their home in the capital city of Lagos and spent three years waiting for peace in the eastern part of the country hundreds of miles away. It was three years without school, a traumatic interruption that continued to affect young Winifred for years after the family returned home to Lagos.

Dr. Egbuna’s two older sisters went off to medical school when she was in high school and they came home with stories that inspired her to follow in their footsteps – and maybe help lessen the inequities in health care that troubled her. She earned her medical degree at the University of Nigeria in 1984 and began her career providing primary care at a small regional hospital.

In 1990, Dr. Egbuna decided to follow some medical school classmates to the United States and continue her training at Columbia University with an internship and residency in internal medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem. She planned to eventually return to Nigeria but in 1993 she joined NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Belvis. She never left.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Egbuna has been devoted to working every day to bring health care to people in the Bronx who need it most, an echo of her social conscience as a child in Nigeria. “I have touched so many lives, especially here in the Bronx,” she says, simply by providing people with fundamental care and helping them manage chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

“Without the public health care system, the uninsured would be without basic services like colonoscopies, mammograms and gyn exams that are readily available to the insured,” she says. “Taking care of someone whose A1C is out of control and hasn’t seen a doctor in two years, seeing how that can change their life, makes it all worth it.”

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