Nkechi Onwuzurike MD

‘Most lively attending’
Dr. Onwuzurike in the Hurley Medical Center Pediatric Oncology Clinic, 2011
Dr. Onwuzurike loves helping young patients in Hurley's hematology/ oncology clinic. Photo by Michael Yassick.

Hidden talents:  Stylish and fashionable wardrobe (though often hidden by her lab coat)

Big smile, sharp mind: An associate professor of Pediatrics at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing, Dr. Onwuzurike completed her pediatric residency at Henry Ford Hospital and her pediatric hematology and oncology fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, both in Detroit, Mich. Her joyful teaching style makes for a fun and education-filled learning experience for resident physicians.

With more than 15 years of practice and teaching at Hurley Medical Center, Dr. Onwuzurike is a favorite among both her patients and residents. A vibrant, energetic and approachable pediatrician, Dr. Onwuzurike is a captivating teacher, both at the bedside and during conference.

“She is the most lively attending in our department,” says Bhavna Vaniawala MD,  a former chief pediatric resident at Hurley. “Rounding with her is fun with learning. She does it so beautifully.”

Dr. Onwuzurike’s academic interests include research projects on thrombocytopenic purpura and sickle cell disease, and as a member of the Children’s Oncology Group,  she’s involved with the nation’s cutting edge Phase 3 therapeutic protocols for childhood cancer. Perhaps most of all, though, she enjoys mentoring residents and students on caring for young oncology and hematology patients. What do the students and doctors in training learn from working with her?

“Go to the root of the problem for handling any case, and work on that,” says Dr. Vaniawala. “It really works. However difficult a case may look, she comes up with a very good plan. I really like her working style. … She is an excellent and a very experienced clinician, highly professional, conceptual, very understanding – and a humble human being.”

In her free time, Dr. Onwuzurike enjoys a multitude of activities, especially if they involved music and movement – or anything with her family of 6.

On family: “Being a mother of 4 children and a full-time physician, I enjoy spending time with my family when I have free time. Being a mother is as fulfilling and meaningful as being a pediatrician, and there is a lot of joy and laughter in my house when my kids are home.”

On staying active: “I am not a good dancer, but I love dancing and enjoy listening to music. My husband and I go dancing whenever we can.”

Favorite music: “Jazz, R&B, pop. … Rap, hip-hop, African. … Rock & country, not so much.”

On her bedside table: “I love to read. These days I am reading Malcolm Gladwell’s series of books (e.g., Blink, The Tipping Point).”

About Hurley: “What I most love about Hurley is the small community atmosphere and the dedication of the teaching faculty in the Pediatric Department. This is a place that offers you the opportunity to learn, grow and serve.”

When she’s not working, she might be spotted: At Somerset shopping mall in Troy, Mich.; at Andiamo,  an Italian restaurant with many locations in SE Michigan; at Martha’s Vineyard,  a popular summer colony island off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass.; or visiting family in Nigeria,  West Africa.