Ngoneh Jallow, PhD, wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up, and being gifted in science - specifically physics - could have made that dream a reality. But growing up in Gambia, she was motivated by a desire to return to her home country after completing her education to help improve the healthcare system. It wasn’t until she did a project on magnetic resonance that she found the fusion between physics and medicine that was the perfect fit for her.

“I realized that there’s a path into medicine that doesn’t require an MD,” said Dr. Jallow, “It was a career that would allow me to do both – be involved in the healthcare system and also do physics, which I knew so much about and really loved.”

Dr. Jallow received her PhD in Medical Physics from the University of Wisconsin Madison and completed a diagnostic medical physics residency at Emory University. In 2016, she joined the faculty in the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Radiology.

“I wanted to come here because I wanted a place that would allow me to work in all aspects of medical physics, whether it’s clinical and patient care, teaching fellows and residents or performing research,” said Dr. Jallow.

As a medical physicist in the Department of Radiology, her job requires her to identify issues that can potentially impact patients and find a fix for it, which she regards as the most rewarding part of her job—and the most important.

“Safety and quality are essential to patient care,” said Dr. Jallow, “As a medical physicist, I ensure all the equipment and protocols are able to provide sufficient care quality and minimize radiation exposure and risks to patients.”

Delivering high-quality physics services while maintaining the safety of patients is what keeps Dr. Jallow driven to discover, and it reflects in the spirit that she likes to uphold in the collaborative work that she does.

“I want to be available to everyone in our department and in our healthcare system to ensure that each patient we see has the safest possible tests and we can continue to work together to refine the patient experience.”

Based on all her passions in quality healthcare, Dr. Jallow and her husband recently formed a non-profit organization with the goal of establishing Gambia’s first catheterization laboratory. This initiative is part of a larger program that aims to increase healthcare capacity in developing nations.