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Health & Science

Car mechanic turned doctor who graduated from medical school at 47 finishes residency

Carl Allamby
Stephen Travarca
/
The Cleveland Clinic
Dr. Carl Allamby went to medical school in his 40s after a career as an auto mechanic. He graduated from medical school in 2019 at age 47.

Carl Allamby, a former East Cleveland car mechanic who made national news when he graduated from medical school at age 47, will complete his medical residency at the Cleveland Clinic Akron General hospital this weekend.

He will soon begin his career as a doctor 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 out of lack of opportunities in my neighborhood,” Allamby said during an interview Thursday with Sound of Ideas host Rick Jackson.

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

“It really went well,” Allamby said. But then 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 a medical degree in middle age.

“When I took that class I fell in love with medicine,” he said. “This harkened back to when I was a child and watched programs like St. Elsewhere. I really wanted to go into medicine and that biology class really propelled me to go back to college.”

There was one hurdle.

“I had to get this past my wife,” he said, so he made his pitch.

“My wife has been my greatest supporter through all of this… with kids and studies,” Allamby said. “I love her to death.”

Allamby said he’s been surprised by how his story has resonated.

“There’s been a lot of unexpected buzz,” he said. "I’m just looking at myself as a hardworking guy trying to get ahead."

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

“It’s meant a lot to hear from people,” he said.

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

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

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

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