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Dami Odunewu: A ministry and life calling to provide access to healthcare in third world countries

by Darlin Mabins

Health disparities among other things have become a big topic of conversation. The pandemic placed a glaring spotlight on areas where equity is lacking. Some people have argued that unequal access to resources and health services has been one of the drivers of the pandemic in our country. Dami Odunewu is one small business owner that is doing what she can to try to fill those gaps. Both here in the states and abroad.

Born and raised in Nigeria for the first 20 years of her life. Dami began her medical journey in Maryland, with her pursuit of a degree in medical engineering. As a result of conversations with a close friend. She began to question if she was in the right career field. She felt the administration or communication side could be a better fit for her. She went online in the hopes of finding a program in medical communications…she instead saw that Missouri State University was one of five schools in the country that offered a degree in Health Communications. In 2013 she made the move to Springfield Missouri.

Dami shared that it was not until she joined the workforce in Springfield that she experienced what she felt was a culture shock. For six years she worked for Cox Hospital in two different employment positions. Her first position was as one of the only African American supervisors at the time (that she can recall). She was responsible for thirty-three direct reports and found that she struggled with microaggressions coming from some of her team. Her second position was with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, through Cox Health. She felt this position was a great learning ground for her. This role was beneficial in assisting, what she feels is her life’s purpose. The Divine Mission Health Center, which is the nonprofit that she started in 2007.

Divine Mission Health Center is what Dami calls, “her ministry and life’s calling.” This organization looks to support low to moderate-income individuals in third-world countries with their medical needs. Pre-pandemic, they would take groups of medical professionals into a different country to provide medical services for a week at a time. The organization also worked to build relationships with the local clinics in the countries they have visited as well. She shared a story about receiving a text message one morning from a clinic in Africa. The text explained that there was a woman who had a stillborn child, that she could not deliver due to lack of money. The cost of the procedure was the equivalent of $59.00 to $60.00 US dollars. Dami approved the request for funding which allowed the Clinic to bill the nonprofit and perform the operation on the woman. She shared that making healthcare accessible is the driving purpose of the nonprofit.

Her story does not end there. Dami is also employed by Momentum Wheels for Humanity in their fundraising department. This nonprofit organization works to provide mobility and rehabilitation services to people with disabilities in over seventy countries.
She is also working on a no-resume hiring software called Purpose Connect. Their mission is to make hiring more human. Their target market is employers looking to diversity their workforce as part of the DEI initiatives. If you thought, her story ended there; Dami is also a mother to a young 4-year-old that she is thankful to have the support of her mother to assist her with childcare as she continues to work in the many fields that she is passionate about.

Her goals for the future? To establish more partnerships within the nonprofits she works with. She has begun to look at how she can better assist the local population in areas where health disparities exist. She hopes to better aid minority women in the future because they have a higher rate for miscarriage, among other needs. Dami’s passion is to make a difference in the medical field through her nonprofit work.

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