I Am SNMA: Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, M.D., M.S.P.H., M.B.A.

Natasha Pyfrom
Creighton SNMA Chapter President
MD Candidate 2013, Creighton School of Medicine

The Student National Medical Association is composed of over 135 medical chapters and 120 pre-medical chapters nationwide.  These local chapters are often recognized as the “backbone” of the SNMA.  In relation to the success of these chapters, often tantamount to member involvement is the commitment and guidance of many unsung heroes who assume roles as advisors, mentors, and supporters. The Creighton SNMA Chapter is fortunate to have such a supporter in Dr. Sade Kosoko-Lasaki.

Every year she takes time out of her busy schedule to meet with the Creighton SNMA Chapter president-elect over the summer and new officers in the fall.  She tells them to come prepared with their goals and leads by teaching them not only the history of SNMA, but the Creighton chapter history as well.  The goals are then molded and visions for the year begin to take shape.  It is during her open door sessions that this uber-professional doctor doles out lessons and advice to pre-medicine/pre-dental hopefuls and professional health science students regarding the importance of remaining shrewd, diligent and intentional in their actions.

Above all, Dr. Kosoko-Lasaki has been an inspiration.  “Magis” is the Latin adverb embraced by Creighton University in its Jesuit motto which means “more greatly.”  In this spirit, Dr. Kosoko-Lasaki is always teaching students to give more, work harder, be better, and think deeper.  She is a teacher by nature and a passionate motivator.

When she’s not working with students Dr. Kosoko-Lasaki is a practicing ophthalmologist, with sub-specialist training in glaucoma.  She is a tenured Professor of Surgery (Ophthalmology) and Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Creighton University School of Medicine.   The Health Sciences Multicultural and Community Affairs (HS-MACA) department was created at Creighton University in the year 2000, with Dr. Kosoko-Lasaki as the founding Associate Vice President. The mission of HS-MACA is to reduce health disparities through innovative research and culturally proficient education, with empowerment of the community through interactions and engagement. Dr. Kosoko-Lasaki also co-authored a book entitled “Cultural Proficiency in Addressing Health Disparities” which was released in September of 2008, by Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Even with a successful medical career Dr. Kosoko-Lasaki is working hard at eliminating health care disparities by increasing the diversity in the health care workforce. Her approach is through the development of “pipe-line programs” that target youth from the 4th grade through college and a pre-health post-baccalaureate program.   Mentoring is an important tool she uses to enhance the success of the next generation.  In 2009, she launched MentorEyes.com, a website devoted to peer and professional e-mentoring.  As principal investigator of several grants she has been able to help numerous underrepresented minorities enter the health professions.

As an adjuvant to her efforts, every Friday at noon, during the academic year, she and her HS-MACA staff host the multicultural and interprofessional event, Common Ground, a lunch time forum where speakers come in to educate students about problems and solutions related to health care disparities.  This forum provides an opportunity for students to “think outside the box” and to be exposed to ethical situations that they may be faced with during their professional careers.

In addition to her positions at Creighton University, Dr. Kosoko-Lasaki is well respected in the Omaha community, across the United States and internationally.  She is Director of “Preventing Glaucoma Blindness in Nebraska: A Creighton University Initiative,” funded by the Friends of the Congressional Caucus Foundation.  Since 1985, she served as a consultant for the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Helen Keller International in West African countries of Burkina Faso, Niger,  Mauritania, Chad,  St. Lucia (in the Caribbean) and in Asia and the Far East Countries (the Philippines islands).  In 2003, she expanded her ophthalmology training and outreach efforts to the Dominican Republic through screening and treating glaucoma and childhood Vitamin D deficiency.  Dr. Kosoko-Lasaki also directs the Virgin Islands Glaucoma Initiative, which began in October of 2009.

Dr. Sade Kosoko-Lasaki embodies the purposes of the Student National Medical Association through her example as role model, mentor, educator and advocate.

Filed Under: Inside SNMA

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