From Nigeria to Texas

The Texas Story Project.

“I came to Texas because of the role the Texas Medical Center in Houston played in advancing cardiac surgery. Pioneering cardiac surgeons such as Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley were my role models and I aspired to follow in their footsteps in Texas.” Dr. Obinna Isiguzo moved to Texas to further his career in medicine and he cherishes his life in Texas. 

Obinna Isiguzo, Obi to friends and family, was born during the Nigerian Biafran Civil war. But he overcame those difficult circumstances to complete high school as the best graduating student and was admitted straight to medical school where he earned his degree in medicine. He moved to the US in 1995 to pursue his residency in medicine and fellowship in cardiology. “My post-graduation training gave me the opportunity to live and practice in various parts of the country; from LA to Chicago to Dayton to Cleveland. I practiced in Cleveland, Ohio at the Cleveland clinic as a cardiologist for eight years.”

“I have always wanted to be a doctor.” Dr. Isiguzo remembers learning about medicine from local TV program called “Your Health” as a child. He was fascinated by the various health issues presented with diagrams of the human body in that program. In medical school, he became increasingly fascinated by the cardiovascular system and cardiovascular diseases, so he decided to pursue a career in cardiology.

He is part of a large cardiology group in San Antonio, South Texas Cardiovascular consultants. They have offices all over the northside of San Antonio and the Hill Country, including Boerne, Fredericksburg, and Kerrville. He enjoys practicing in Texas and loves the scenic drive to his offices in the Hill Country. He also serves on many medical leadership committees across San Antonio. “I have practiced in different parts of the country, but my patients in Texas are extremely welcoming and grateful and I often feel like a part of their extended family.”

While many of his friends and classmates moved to England for further studies, he chose to come to America. Although, having extended family in Texas played a role in his decision, there is another reason he chose to come to the US. “The American dream which says if you work hard and play by the rules, you will achieve your highest potential has always inspired me.” He shares three pieces of advice that have been crucial to his successes in life. “Carve your own path. Follow the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And love thy neighbor as yourself.”

His uncles were the first ones in his family to move to Texas from Nigeria. “My family has lived in Texas since 1972, starting with my uncle Alonzo.” He has been in and out of Texas since 1997 but moved permanently in 2012. “When my children, Raj (10) and Nikhil (8) were born, I decided that I wanted to move to Texas. I wanted them to be closer to their grandparents and cousins. Apart from that, the weather in Texas is beautiful all year-round.” He cherishes being able to hike, trek and swim with his children throughout the year. He thoroughly enjoys living in Texas. In fact, he has many Texas favorites. His favorite sports teams are the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Astros and he does also cheer for the Houston Texans. His favorite player is Manu Ginobili. “I love sports. I even coach my sons’ basketball teams at Saint Mary’s Hall.” He is also passionate about motor cars and never misses a chance to attend the annual US Grand Prix at the Circuit of Americas in Austin.

Texas weather also reminds him of the weather in Nigeria. Even though he misses the food and old friends in Nigeria, he loves his life better in Texas. In addition to the pleasure of playing golf and basketball in his backyard with his kids, the multiethnic and multicultural environment in Texas makes it a great state for him to raise his family in. He enjoys the annual Fiesta and Battle of Flowers with his kids. “The independent Texas spirit distinguishes Texas and makes it unique from the rest of the US; and the barbeque. I love me some good Texas Barbeque!” He claims that 2M Barbeque serves the best barbeque in town. However, there is one thing that this Texan does not like about Texas. “I don’t like the rattlesnakes, racoons, coyotes and the big bugs in Texas. As they say, everything is bigger in Texas, even the bugs!”

While he cherishes fond memories of his childhood in Nigeria, Dr. Isiguzo’s heart and his home lie in Texas. “There is no country or state I’d rather be in. I wasn’t born in Texas, but I sure as heck got here as fast as I could.”

Ankita Chabra is a biology major at St. Mary’s University, class of 2022. She is a pre-med student and aspires to become a cardiologist one day.

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