Auto mechanic turned medical school graduate doctor at 47 completes residency

Carl Allamby, a former auto mechanic from East Cleveland who made national news when he graduated from medical school at 47, completed his medical residency at Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital this weekend .

He will soon begin his medical career at Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights.

Allamby grew up in East Cleveland and started his auto repair business as a young man.

“I started the business because of a lack of opportunities in my neighborhood,” Allamby said during a Thursday interview with Sound of Ideas host Rick Jackson.

Over the years, his business has become a success, he said. He moved to South Euclid and had over 3,000 repeat customers.

“It went really well,” Allamby said. But later, the time came when he wanted to see his life grow.

He decided to go back to school, but it was when he took a biology class that he was inspired to pursue medical school in middle age.

“When I took this course, I fell in love with medicine,” he said. “It reminded me of when I was a kid watching programs like St. Elsewhere. I really wanted to go into medicine and this biology course really pushed me to go back to university.

There was an obstacle.

“I had to go past my wife,” he said, so he made his speech.

“My wife has been my biggest support through it all…with the kids and the studies,” Allamby said. “I love him to death.”

Allamby said he was surprised by the resonance of his story.

“There’s been a lot of unexpected buzz,” he said. “I just think of myself as a guy who works hard and tries to get ahead.”

Besides media coverage, Allamby has been invited to speak at colleges and there is even talk of a possible TV series based on his life. People who heard his story also reached out to him on social media.

“It means a lot to hear from people,” he said.

Allamby said he hopes his story shows “that no matter where you grew up or where you’re from, you don’t have as many limitations as you think.”

Allamby added that he hopes his example will inspire people from diverse communities to pursue a career in medicine.

“I think it’s important that people see a representation when they show up at the place that’s supposed to provide you with care,” he said. “You will take advice from people who look like you.”

Having different types of people in the field can also help combat implicit biases in medicine, he said.

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