Family doctor Mohammed Ahmad puts on his white coat and looks in the mirror. Looking back at him is a determined man who started close to home, went far, and is now back and wants to make a difference in his local community.
Ahmad’s journey to a medical degree began at Lorain County Community College in 2004, just after his graduation from Westlake High School. He began working toward an associate degree at LCCC with plans to transfer to a new bachelor’s degree program through LCCC’s University Partnership.
“I’ve always known I wanted to be a physician, and starting at LCCC was the logical choice since I wanted to stay close to home,” he said.
He earned an associate of science degree from LCCC in 2006 and the next year he graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology through LCCC’s University Partnership. He was a member in the first class of students to earn the biology degree through the University Partnership.
“Being among the first students to take advantage of the biology program through the UP was great. I was very fortunate that the program became available just as I needed it,” he said.
Starting his education at LCCC and the UP was an affordable option for Ahmad that was close to home – and provided a solid foundation for his future. Ahmad praised the faculty of LCCC for inspiring him to continue his path to a medical degree.
“The biology and science instructors at LCCC were the best I’ve had in my entire life – including medical school. Professors Kathy Durham, Harry Kestler and James Beil were a huge influence on me,” he said.
Ahmad was so impressed with the education he received at LCCC that he became an LCCC adjunct faculty member and taught courses in microbiology and human nutrition prior to starting medical school.
“Dr. Kestler and Dr. Durham got me very excited about teaching and I enjoyed every moment,” Ahmad said. “I see teaching as part of my future career.”
Kestler recalls Ahmad as a dedicated scholar and coworker.
“I could rely on him to teach courses at a high level and he was very well liked by the students,” Kestler said. “The thing I admire about him most is his persistence. Mo has goals and he quietly accomplishes them and he does so with a positive attitude despite any barriers in his way.”
After earning his undergraduate degrees and teaching at LCCC, Ahmad set off on an adventure to medical school at St. Matthews University School of Medicine in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. He graduated in 2011 and then completed his clinical years at hospitals in Cleveland and Chicago. In 2015, he completed his residency with the University of Cincinnati and MetroHealth System in downtown Cleveland.
After traveling far and wide, Ahmad came back to Northeast Ohio and began working as a family physician at Mercy Health in Oberlin. He is now in the process of opening an independent medical practice in Lakewood.
He now lives in Avon and occasionally finds time to stop by LCCC and chat with the professors who helped him get started. Professor Beil, who teaches chemistry, remembers Ahmad as a determined student who put forth additional effort in the classroom.
“It is very satisfying to see an excellent student starting out as a college freshman go on to complete an advanced degree and have a successful career. I’m humbled and proud to have played a minor role in Mohammed’s journey,” Beil said.
Not only was Ahmad inspired by his professors, but they also drew inspiration from him.
“He absolutely stood out as being not only extremely intelligent but also as being polite, kind-hearted and generous,” Durham said. “I was so impressed with Mo that I invited him to help me set up a student research group with me. It was a tremendous success and my research groups are still very active today.”
Starting his education at LCCC was a smart choice that he is proud of, Ahmad reflected.
“Without LCCC and the University Partnership I would be stuck in student loans from my undergraduate programs,” Ahmad said. “The UP was a huge benefit because I was able to take all of the bachelor’s degree prerequisites as LCCC classes and only pay the university tuition for my higher level courses.”
For more information on LCCC’s University Partnership, visit www.lorainccc.edu/up.