As part of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey, Connecticut Children’s celebrates Black History Month, which honors the culture and contributions of Black Americans in the United States. As part of our organization’s recognition of this month and other culture months, we highlight the accomplishments and heritage of team members through personal interviews to deepen our appreciation of each other. In addition, we also honor National Women Physicians Day, which falls on February 3, 2023, to highlight the extensive contributions of women in medicine here at Connecticut Children’s. 

In this interview, Chinyere Okoronkwo, MD, MS, shares about her heritage, her role models, and what she likes most about working at Connecticut Children’s. Dr. Okoronkwo is a primary care pediatrician at Connecticut Children’s.

Want more articles like this from pediatric experts you trust?

Sign up for our newsletter.

What inspired you to pursue your career as a primary care pediatrician at Connecticut Children’s? 

Dr. Okoronkwo: Connecticut Children’s mission, vision, values and core behaviors resonated with me. The mission creates a genuine spirt of cooperation and a conducive environment that provides a support system for everybody.

In honor of Black History Month, please share something about your heritage that you would like team members to know. 

Dr. Okoronkwo: My heritage is Igbo, one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, rich in culture and tradition. Our unique customs, festivals and way of life are held in high esteem. We tend to retain and express our culture wherever we live or settle. Some of our strong cultural values are hospitality, family, community and respect for elders.

Chinyere Okoronkwo, primary care physician at Connecticut Children’s

In honor of National Women Physicians Day on February 3, please share something about your experiences that you would like team members to know. 

Dr. Okoronkwo: Fortunately, I had outstanding mentors who encouraged me to pursue my passion. I love what I do. At the same time, I love and enjoy the time I have with my family. I feel like I have been able to strike that balance as a woman in medicine.

Tell us about some of your role models. 

Dr. Okoronkwo: My role models are my parents. I learned from them that whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve, no matter what the present circumstances or obstacles surrounding a situation. This maxim has inspired and guided me through life.

What do you like most about working for Connecticut Children’s?

Dr. Okoronkwo: (1) Connecticut Children’s culture where all feel welcome and respected. (2) Interacting with kids, teenagers and young adults on a regular basis and being able to inspire them to be the best versions of themselves that they could be. (3) Further, Connecticut Children’s is invested in employees’ growth and development, which encourages us to explore the full potential of our skill sets.

What books or publications focused on Black issues or written by Black authors would you recommend to team members?   

Dr. Okoronkwo: (1)  Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (2) Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala.