AHP News

Celebrating Dr. Ogbu-Nwobodo, AHP’s Medical Director

The Alliance Health Project staff and leadership team are thrilled to introduce Lucy Ogbu-Nwobodo, MD, our newest Medical Director. Dr. Ogbu-Nwbodo is a highly sought-after psychiatrist and activist who embodies wisdom, authenticity, and unwavering advocacy. She possesses a keen knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusion while supporting a large community psychiatry clinic, a team of fellows, residents, and post-baccalaureate trainees.

Dr. Ogbu-Nwobodo doesn’t try to fix, manage, or control complicated issues, but gently acknowledges the pain of being immersed in them. She listens attentively, thanks her speakers consistently, and responds brightly with critical theory, a keen sensitivity toward trauma, and optimism for healing. 

Lucy Ogbu-Nwobodo, MD
Lucy Ogbu-Nwobodo, MD

In the few months that Dr. Ogbu-Nwobodo has served as AHP’s Medical Director, she has exhibited an unwavering commitment to justice and a deep compassion toward the staff and clients. Community Advisory Board member and colleague of Dr. Ogbu-Nwobodo’s, Michelle Porche, EdD, had this to say about her: “Dr. Ogbu-Nwobodo is forging a path for the next generation of psychiatrists, both in her mentoring of post-baccalaureates towards careers in medicine and in her training of psychiatry residents. She is a talented clinician for patients from marginalized communities and a champion for those who have been historically excluded from healthcare professions. Alliance Health Project and its clients are the well-served beneficiaries of her talents and expertise. She walks the walk – literally – leading faculty, staff, and trainees in Oakland's Black Joy Parade, representing our department at its best. 

Driven by a deep-rooted belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every individual, Dr. Ogbu-Nwobodo tirelessly rallies for the well-being of minoritized community members, amplifying every voice, and gently reminding folks with privilege that they can do better. She approaches every situation with a spirit full of warmth and generosity, always striving to uplift and empower those around her. Like her predecessor, George Harrison, MD, Dr. Ogbu-Nwobodo is approachable, warm, and disarmingly sincere.

With appointments in several programs within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the UCSF School of Medicine, Dr. Ogbu-Nwobodo’s impact is far-reaching. She is directing and co-directing multiple programs including the mentoring of post-baccalaureate students, psychiatry residents and fellows; providing diversity, inclusion, and equity consultation; and leading the medical department at Alliance Health Project. She also started a 501c3 non-profit organization, Health Equity Leadership Academy, Inc., with a mission of advancing access to health profession careers for students from historically excluded communities.

Yet, Dr. Ogbu-Nwobodo’s path to becoming one of the leaders of community psychiatry at   UCSF has been infused with unspeakable challenges, resilience, and an indistinguishable light. Born in Nigeria in an area of extreme poverty, Lucy was named after St. Lucy, the patron saint associated with healing and light. Her parents could see she possessed something special and that she was driven by a passion to help others. They sought a way for Lucy to make her dreams come true, and this included accepting an opportunity for her to immigrate to Oakland, California for a better life. The journey to the U.S. was fraught with many challenges and adversity:  Lucy spent 14 years as an undocumented student, navigating much of her educational journey without legal status in this country. Lucy survived those years by escaping into books, and by the enduring light that emanates through her being.

It was Lucy’s indelible spirit and her eagerness to thrive that were her touchstones while she patiently and systematically used her grit and resourcefulness to stay focused on her dreams of becoming a physician. Her early years in Nigeria and later in Oakland—both offering unique proximity and insight into the plight of marginalized groups—served as the defining catalysts for her to use medicine as an avenue for social good. Lucy credits her formative years spent with family in Nigeria for helping establish a strong foundation of fortitude and drive, and later in the U.S., a host of supportive mentors and guides who all became her chosen family, and helped her stay on track with her long journey to becoming a celebrated and award-winning psychiatrist and a Medical Director at one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Dr. Ogbu-Nwobodo possesses a rare quality of warmth, positivity, generosity, and intellect that combine to make her a brilliant leader and psychiatrist. We welcome Dr. Ogbu-Nwobodo with “hugs and high fives” a sentiment she offers her mentees and supervisees, as she motivates and supports their journey, in the hope that they too can achieve their highest aspirations and dreams.