EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — After over two decades of fixing cars at the auto repairs business he owned, Carl Allamby traded his wrench for a stethoscope, and now he fixes people as a doctor.
“There wasn’t much economic opportunity where I grew up,” Allamby said. “Nothing’s given — everything’s earned.”
Allamby owned his own business: a garage in East Cleveland that he said started as a one-man shop.
“I owned an auto repair business for the past 25 years; started it almost right out of high school,” Allamby said.
To grow his business, he decided he needed a business degree. But it was a different type of required course that caught his attention.
“I figured, what do I need biology for? I’m a business major,” he said.
The class changed his life.
“It was magnetic,” Allamby said. “I think it was during the first hour of class I said, ’This is it! I need to go into medicine!”
Allamby ran the shop during the day and tended to his family. At night, he sat in classes.
“Thirteen years in total that I was in school,” he said.
Allamby walked across Cleveland State’s stage as a graduate back in May.
The day I closed my shop was one of the best days of my life,” he said.
Now, Allamby specializes in emergency medicine at Akron General.
He’s accomplished an amazing feat, not just through his transformative career change. A 2012 study found fewer than 4% of practicing physicians in this country are black.
This story is part of A Better Land , an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here .