Dr. Godwin Njoku is among 83 physicians benefiting from the Doctors Across New York Program.
Njoku, who works at Oneonta Family Practice, said the $100,000 state award administered through A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital will go toward his educational loans, but it also indirectly helps with other goals for him and his family.
His wife, Vivia, who postponed her career, can return to her studies in pharmacology, he said, and they recently bought a house in Oneonta, another step toward building a home to raise their son, Daniel, 10.
Njoku said he also appreciates the sense of community that a rural area such as Oneonta offers.
Oneonta Family Practice offers primary care for patients of all ages.
Njoku, a U.S. citizen, was born in Cameroon, grew up in Nigeria and came to America in 1984 after high school. He studied biology at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Njoku said he attended the University of Maryland College of Dental Surgery at Baltimore, but he changed his career path to family medicine.
He attended Ross School of Medicine in Portsmouth, Dominica, West Indies. He completed his residency at Brooklyn Queens New York Medical Center in Queens.
He started in a temporary position at Oneonta Family Practice on September. The adjustment was tough at first, he said, but the friendly staff and Dr. Ben Friedell were persuasive. He became a Fox employee Dec. 29.
``I always wanted to work in rural areas _ that's where the needs are,'' Njoku said. ``This is the kind of place I want to be.''