Two years ago, a passion for teaching and an opportunity for a fresh start brought Dr. Olusegun Oyedele and his family 16,000 kilometres from Johannesburg to Kelowna. Fast forward to today, Dr. Oyedele is immersed in his teaching with the Southern Medical Program and looking towards building new research opportunities at UBC Okanagan.
“My first love is medicine,” says Dr. Oyedele who described falling into his teaching career almost by accident. After earning his medical degree from the Olabisi Onabanjo University in Nigeria, he completed a MSc. in Anatomy from the University of Ibadan. It was during his graduate studies that he developed a real affinity for teaching later joining the faculty in 1995. “I started as a teacher’s assistant and found that I really enjoyed teaching, so much so that I forgot about my previous career paths.”
Prior to moving to the Okanagan, Dr. Oyedele served the University of the Witwatersrand as Senior Lecturer for nine years during which time he also completed a PhD in Neurodevelopmental Biology. “I had reached a point in my career where I felt I had given everything I could and I wanted a new challenge, says Dr. Oyedele. “I was looking for some higher level of experience and coming to Canada could give my family a better start and provide more opportunities for my kids.”
Dr. Oyedele arrived in Kelowna in early August of 2011 just prior to the start of the new school year for the SMP’s inaugural class. As the Basic Science Instructor for the program, he leads the Gross Anatomy, Neuroanatomy, and Histology labs for first and second year students. Dr. Oyedele also delivers province-wide lectures with the help of videoconference technology to students across the distributed MD Undergraduate Program in Vancouver, Victoria, and Prince George. In addition to his teaching, he has taken an active role in problem-based learning (PBL) for SMP students both as a tutor and as a trainer for other tutors with the program.
While he sees distinct differences in medical education delivery between the two countries, his approach to teaching remains the same. “I try to inspire the students and link what they are studying to what is happening in practice,” says Dr. Oyedele. “Anatomy is very detail oriented and you can get lost in the details. I get the students to see the big picture and explain the knowledge in a very contextual way to help them remember the facts.”
A new country and new culture has brought big changes and some challenges for Dr. Oyedele, his wife, daughter (16), and two sons (18 and 20) but ones that have been met in stride. Not to mention distinct cultural differences, Kelowna’s population pales in comparison to Johannesburg which is home to over five million people. “It’s been quite a change, but overall it’s been great,” says Dr. Oyedele. “I cannot say enough how grateful we are for UBC and the SMP in welcoming us to the community. We had a whole entourage greet us at the airport and they made the transition very easy for me and my family.”
Dr. Oyedele is now exploring new research opportunities and potential collaborations with other UBC Okanagan faculty and students. “My research focus is shifting from laboratory-based basic science to exploring opportunities in the educational field,” say Dr. Oyedele. “The field is huge and there are lots of research avenues to pursue.”