The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Dr. Arese Carrington

Public health consultant Dr. Arese Ukpoma Carrington was born on July 16, 1958 in Lagos, Nigeria to Dora and Elisha Ukponmwan. Her great-great-grandfather, Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi, was the ruler of Benin from 1888 to 1897. Carrington and her mother were separated from her father during the Biafran Civil War, but the family later reunited. Carrington earned her M.D. degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 1980.

Carrington briefly served as a medical officer for the Nigerian Airports Authority before establishing a private practice. In 1986, she founded Goldline Limited, a commercial company providing consulting and promotional services to multinational companies and foreign non-profits. She also founded Health and Medical Services that same year to consult on issues of preventive healthcare in the workplace. Carrington enrolled in a master’s program at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she studied in the Department of Population and International Health. Graduating in 2000, she was chosen as the graduate orator at the commencement ceremony. Carrington then became the associate director of government relations and community programs for Harvard’s AIDS Prevention Initiative Nigeria (APIN), helping to secure a health grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest at that time. She also authored Malaria in Nigeria, published in the Fall 2001 issue of the Harvard Health Policy Review. In 2004, Carrington worked for the Pan African Health Foundation, which partnered with the Nigerian government to establish an auto-disable syringe factory in Port Harcourt. In 2006, she and her husband, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Walter C. Carrington, founded Africana Consultants USA to advise on issues of public health and investment promotion.

Carrington served as vice president of the board of directors of the United Nations Association of Greater Boston. As a visiting committee member for the Arts of Asia, Oceania and Africa at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, she facilitated the development of the Benin Kingdom Gallery. She also served on the trustees’ advisory board of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. In 2014, Carrington was the recipient of the Newton Human Rights Lifetime Achievement award, Massachusetts State Senate Official Citation, and the Massachusetts House of Representatives Official Citation in recognition of being a life-long advocate of Human Rights.

Carrington and her husband, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Walter C. Carrington, have two children: Temisan Oyowe-Carrington and Thomas Carrington.

Dr. Arese Carrington was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 20, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.075

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/20/2016

Last Name

Carrington

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

University of Ibadan

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Queen's College, Lagos

International School, Ibadan

University College Hospital, Ibadan

Corona School Ikoyi

First Name

Arese

Birth City, State, Country

Lagos

HM ID

CAR35

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

Defend The Defenseless.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

7/16/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

Nigeria

Favorite Food

Plantain

Short Description

Public health consultant Dr. Arese Carrington (1958- ) served as associate director for Harvard University’s AIDS Prevention Initiative Nigeria (APIN).

Employment

Nigerian Airports Authority

Fan Milk Ltd

Health and Medical Services

Harvard School of Public Health

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:5031,98:21488,305:23239,372:34751,498:42854,589:43526,597:60036,842:60744,849:63555,866:64365,873:65580,887:70440,934:73520,992:75610,1079:80120,1120:80780,1128:81440,1135:84710,1143:90920,1289:98906,1338:106898,1511:116898,1597:117864,1606:118968,1615:120072,1625:136774,1785:137478,1796:138006,1864:145662,1948:147246,1992:147862,2000:157460,2107$0,0:3210,46:19242,326:24470,372:26190,395:27910,415:28512,423:30232,445:34962,538:35650,549:42550,614:45185,655:45695,662:46290,672:47225,689:49860,737:55810,835:72839,1077:73234,1083:78894,1112:88370,1157:94711,1279:104028,1369:105132,1384:108651,1442:109203,1451:114484,1566:115048,1575:118338,1639:120030,1666:120500,1672:126986,1784:127362,1789:132158,1808:136294,1868:137140,1880:141464,1939:146040,1981:149840,2059:166475,2313:182141,2543:186570,2581:192050,2602:192876,2619:193171,2625:208330,2808:211850,2863:214490,2905:214890,2911:221580,2959:221944,2964:222399,2970:223127,2980:223491,2985:227222,3049:227677,3055:228223,3062:228860,3070:232090,3093
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Arese Carrington's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Arese Carrington lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about her mother's upbringing and education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the history of British colonial rule in Benin

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes her father's upbringing and education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about her parents' courtship

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes her parents' personalities and values

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes her parents' careers

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes the qualities of a successful marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the history and culture of Benin

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about Nigerian independence

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes the ethnic differences in Nigeria

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the leaders of Nigerian independence

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Arese Carrington remembers her early interest in social justice

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Arese Carrington recalls her family's preparation for the Nigeria-Biafra War

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Arese Carrington remembers the start of the Nigeria-Biafra War

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about her husband's role in the Nigeria-Biafra War

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes her early interest in medicine

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about gender inequality in Nigeria

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Arese Carrington remembers the Corona School Ikoyi in Lagos, Nigeria

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes the secondary school system in Nigeria

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dr. Arese Carrington remembers Queen's College, Lagos in Lagos, Nigeria

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes her education in Nigeria

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Arese Carrington remembers her early exposure to popular culture

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the misconceptions of the African continent

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the differences between urban and rural communities in Nigeria

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Arese Carrington remember developing an interest in public health

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes her early medical career in Nigeria

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about healthcare in Nigeria, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about healthcare in Nigeria, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the impact of political instability in Nigeria

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the wealth inequality in Nigeria

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the activism of Ken Saro-Wiwa

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Arese Carrington remembers the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the history of political leadership in Nigeria

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Arese Carrington recalls the assassination of Kudirat Abiola

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the history of activism in Nigeria

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes how she met her husband, Walter C. Carrington

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the U.S. immigration process

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dr. Arese Carrington remembers meeting President Jimmy Carter in Nigeria

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about her wedding

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Arese Carrington recalls the start of her husband's farewell party in Lagos, Nigeria

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Arese Carrington remembers the dissolution of her husband's farewell party, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Arese Carrington remembers the dissolution of her husband's farewell party, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the death of Moshood Abiola

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Arese Carrington remembers the start of the AIDS Prevention Initiative Nigeria

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about her work with the Nigerian government

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the impact of the AIDS Prevention Initiative Nigeria

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes the work of the Pan African Health Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the empowerment of women in Nigeria

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about modernization in Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes the United Nations Association of Greater Boston

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the Safe Schools initiative in Nigeria

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the treatment of girls in Nigeria

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes her hopes and concerns for the country of Nigeria

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes her involvement at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the Benin Kingdom Gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about her daughter

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dr. Arese Carrington reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dr. Arese Carrington reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dr. Arese Carrington talks about building relationships

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dr. Arese Carrington describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dr. Arese Carrington narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Dr. Arese Carrington narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
Dr. Arese Carrington remembers her early interest in social justice
Dr. Arese Carrington talks about the empowerment of women in Nigeria
Transcript
Now, tell me about growing up. Now, did you--I mean you grew up, you grew up in Lagos [Nigeria], right?$$I grew up in Lagos--Ikoyi, Lagos. I went--my elementary school was Corona School Ikoyi [Lagos, Nigeria]; it was a school that had a lot of the expatriate children in it, so I used to spend a lot of time playing with a lot of my friends after school; and one of the things of--'cause it was--when I was about nine [years old], during the time--the civil war started while I was in elementary school, and when I was at Corona School, there was a school next door--Corona School was a private school, and a lot of kids who were there, their parents were either a civil servants, or they were expatriate kids. We had a lot of good teachers, we got the best books--everything was there at our disposal. And right next door to us was this public school, and this public school it was only separated from us by this fence which you could see through, and you could see the stark difference with the kids there: they didn't have the amenities, they--their uniforms, they didn't have to wear socks and shoes, some would come to school without shoes. And so from the early age--from an early age, I used to wonder, but we're all kids, why were they having it so different? Their teachers would carry canes and they would spank them, and that was not allowed in my school. And we used to go--some of us would go across the fence and talk to them and see what was happening. And you could see that--as kid- we were all the same; we had the same, you know, yearnings; we thought like kids. And I began to think of issues of social justice--things of--issues dealing with education, dealing with equity. So, from an early age, these questions were in my mind; and I would ask, why do some of us have it this way, and why do others don't? 'Cause I didn't believe that people who were less fortunate and weren't given opportunities, I didn't think that they would be able to get--reach their maximum potential.$$Not--without the same kind of start, yeah.$$Yes, without--yes, without that same kind of start.$Now, in 2006 you became the vice president of Africana Consultants [Newton Centre, Massachusetts]. Now this is--is this you and your husband [HistoryMaker Walter C. Carrington], right (unclear)?$$Yes. So, we decided to set up a consultancy focused on two things--or maybe more than two things, but healthcare and investment promotions were the main things; and so I was involved in healthcare consulting and also women's empowerment. Because that was an issue--women's health was not being addressed; and I felt unless you empower the woman, she would not have the ability to address her own healthcare needs. Women needed a voice, and I was vocal in making sure that women understood that their health and their lives were in their hands, and they could not allow the men to dictate to them how they would take care of themselves because the men would focus more on what affected them and not what affected the women. You had maternal mortality still very high, you had childhood diseases still very high, and malnutrition still very high. So these were areas where the women needed to be empowered to be able to advocates for themselves, so.$$Yeah, yeah, so--that sounds like important work. Yeah--I'm tempted to ask--well, I'll ask anyway. In what ways did men try to control women's health access? I mean how, and for what reasons?$$Well, there were--like going to basic local levels now. I will go to like when I worked in the teaching hospital in Nigeria--University College Hospital [University College Hospital, Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria]. A lot of times, a woman would have had several children--she would be tired. She would say she's had seven, eight children, but her husband wants her to continue because either he wants her to have a son, or he feels he needs many children; and they would not be allowed to have contraceptives. So they would come to the hospital and they would say--and their husbands would come with them, and you would see them whisper that, as a doctor should ask their husband to wait outside. So it would look like the doctor wanted their husband to wait outside; and when the husband would go out, the woman would say that she is tired of having children. She almost passed on, the last one; and she wants contraceptive, but she wants something that her husband will not, you know, know what she's doing, and if he asks her why isn't she pregnant, she'll just say, "Oh, it's--," God hasn't given her a baby. So, you know, she did not have the nerve to tell her husband that, "No, I'm done," that she feels she's done with having children. And also, attention wasn't being paid to maternal healthcare. You had so many women dying during childbirth, and I think a lot of the healthcare policies weren't being addressed. Because you look at parliament, in politics, those providing the laws were mainly men, so they had no interest in issues concerning women most of the time; and so you needed to advocate that women should go into politics, women should begin to fight for their own rights, and women should realize that they have a voice.