Ivy League phenom from Wilmington now enrolled in medical, law schools

Irina Baranova

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – It’s quite an academic accomplishment to be accepted to all eight Ivy League schools. It’s another to be enrolled in medical school and law school at the same time. That’s the case for Victor Agbafe, a 2015 graduate of Cape Fear Academy.

The Wilmington native completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University. Now, two years into medical school at the University of Michigan, he’s also enrolled in law school at Yale University.

“What happens is it’s like a staggered structure for me,” Agbafe said. “Last year during my M1 year in med school, I applied to law school. I was lucky to have some options and chose Yale and I decided to defer the beginning of it for two years. So, after my third year of med school, I’ll head over to New Haven — do those three years — and then I’ll come back for my last year of med school.”

Agbafe found himself thrust into the media spotlight his senior year at Cape Fear Academy in Wilmington. The straight A student who also played on the basketball team was newsworthy after receiving acceptance letters from all eight Ivy League schools.

Agbafe quickly found his passion early on in medical school — surgery. He says he’s drawn to the exceptionally challenging ones.

“Like on my rotation now, a lot of patients with colon cancer, sadly with pancreatic cancer where some of the outcomes are really tough but you know ideally sometimes whether it’s giving a patient a few more years of life, right, or sometimes if you can totally resect the cancer, you can give them decades more,” he said. “I can’t think of something that would be more fulfilling than that.”

So why law school? Agbafe believes at times physicians and policy makers aren’t always on the same page because they approach healthcare from two very different directions.

“There seems to be a gap between them (physicians) and sometimes I think people who create the policy or you know who even run our hospital systems where it takes a lot more like a legal framework, right, when you’re thinking about how you’re going to pay for care,” he said. “What does the pipeline process look like for developing a lot of the drugs that people have. So my theory is if I can understand the language of medicine and how it works and I can understand the language of law, I hope that I can sort of work at that intersection.”

Agbafe’s commitment to medical school and law school at essentially the same time sounds exhausting, but he believes time will fly. He’s focused on becoming a doctor and a lawyer, so he studies a lot. But he says he and his fellow future physicians at the University of Michigan’s medical school find time to break away from the books.

“Recently, it’s become a weekly habit where we’ll try a different ice cream place,” Agbafe said with a smile. “So just little things like that will help keep you grounded. And as often as possible, I try to make it back home to Wilmington to spend time with my family because for me I think especially as I get older I think its just really rejuvenating and refreshing to be with my siblings, mom and dad. That time you spend with them, I think it sort of reorients you to like what this journey is all about.”

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