A Nigerian-born physician who has worked in four continents — Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America — is being honored as one of the top physicians in the U.S. Professor Iyalla Elvis Peterside was named among recipients of America’s Best Physicians 2021 award by the U.S. National Consumer Advisory Board and Todaysbestphysician.com.
Professor Peterside is known for his outstanding work in Pediatrics and Neonatology at the University of Pennsylvania Medical school.
He has worked as a consultant for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, considered one of the best children’s hospitals in the world. The decorated professor specializes in Neonatal Apnea, Neonatal Brain Injury, Neonatal ECMO, Neonatal Surgery, Nosocomial Infections, and Ventilation of the Neonate. His works have previously been recognized by professional associations in the U.S. and institutions where he has worked.
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According to the children’s hospital in Philadelphia, his areas of interest are care of complex neonatal patients and infection control with emphasis on catheter-related bloodstream infections. He is an expert on the use of ECMO to treat critically ill patients in respiratory and cardiac failure.
Professor Peterside graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1985 where he had his medical training and then went on to train in pediatrics, pediatric surgery, and neonatology at the Booth Hall Children’s Hospital in Manchester, England, and The Bolton General Hospital in Bolton, England.
From there he attended the Brooklyn Medical Center in New York for further training and completed a fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.
Peterside is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and has published two papers in conjunction with other doctors in his field — “Periocular ulcerative dermatitis associated with gentamicin ointment prophylaxis in newborns” and “Pilot trial to compare tolerance of chlorhexidine gluconate to povidone-iodine antisepsis for central venous catheter placement in neonates.”
Peterside is one of the many Nigerians excelling in the U.S. Nigerians are the most highly educated of all groups in the U.S. — 61 percent hold at least a bachelors degree compared with 31 percent of the total foreign-born population and 32 percent of the U.S.-born population, according to 2017 data from the Migration Policy Institute.
The 2016 American Community Survey also found that among Nigerian-American professionals, 45 percent work in education services with several others being professors at some of the top universities. Nigerian Americans are also increasingly entering into entrepreneurship and building tech companies in the U.S. In the medical field, you will find them there too; as they continue to abandon their home country to work in American hospitals for better pay and working conditions.
Despite racism and discrimination, Nigerian-Americans have not stopped excelling in the United States, as they are currently one of the country’s most successful immigrant communities, with a median household income of $62,351, compared to $57,617 nationally, as of 2015.
The over 376,000 Nigerian-American population has also produced some of the ‘firsts’ in America, including forensic pathologist Dr Bennet Omalu, who was the first to discover and publish on chronic traumatic encephalopathy in American football players, and Pearlena Igbokwe, the first woman of African descent to head a major U.S. TV studio.
Apart from traditional careers like doctors, lawyers and engineers, Nigerian-Americans are also doing tremendously well in entertainment, sports and the culinary arts. Nigerian chef Tunde Wey in New Orleans made the news when he used food to highlight racial wealth inequality in America.
So how did Nigerians get to U.S. in their numbers, and how are they outshining citizens from their host country?
After the Biafra war in the 1960s in Nigeria, many students were given scholarships by the Nigerian government to pursue higher studies in the States. These students performed well and furthered their education before becoming professionals in their various fields. They valued education and passed this on to their children, and the result is what is being observed now.