With his laid-back demeanor, most wouldn't guess that Dr. Olurotimi Badero, 43, is one of the most knowledgeable medical minds in Mississippi. As the only combined cardiologist and nephrologist in the United States, Badero is a coveted commodity in his field, yet despite numerous job offers, he has stayed in Jackson.
Even in high school, Badero valued education. He performed better than any other student in his native country, Nigeria, earning him an award for academic excellence. After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Ife, he enrolled in the school's medical program and graduated in 1997.
Soon after, he moved to the United States to attend the State University of New York, where he completed specialty training in internal medicine in 2004. In 2006, he earned his specialty degree in nephrology at Emory University in Atlanta. As he began treating patients, he realized that might not be enough. "When I was taking care of nephrology patients, I found out that patients were dying from cardiovascular disease and not from kidney disease," he says.
In 2009, he returned to SUNY to earn his specialty degree in cardiology. After another three years in New York, Badero was accepted into Yale University, where he earned three more specialties: interventional cardiology, peripheral vascular medicine and peripheral vascular convention. His skill began drawing attention from medical organizations, including the Association of Black Cardiologists, which presented Badero with an award for excellence in cardiology in 2008.
After training from 2001 to 2010, Badero was considering a job offer in Jackson, Tenn. His plans shifted dramatically while on a retreat in the Poconos Mountains. His church group visited the area to focus on God, and Badero hoped the experience would guide his decision. After five days with no answer, Badero was driving back to New York City when he read another car's license plate: Jackson.
"When I saw 'Jackson,' I got excited," he says. "'This is God telling me to go to Jackson, Tennessee.' But then something in my mind said, 'Why don't you take another look?'"
Badero took a position as an interventional cardiologist at Central Mississippi Medical Center in 2011. He performed the first radial coronary angioplasty in CMMC history and treated nephrology patients for two years without additional pay. He did a one-year fellowship in interventional nephrology and dialysis that year. In 2013, he formed Cardiac, Renal & Vascular Associates. He is a board-certified cardiologist, nephrologist, interventional nephrologist, internist and nuclear cardiologist.
His skills aren't limited to medicine, though. Badero is also the assistant pastor of Vine Chapel Church and an avid painter. He believes spirituality and creativity are vital to the art of healing.