Johns Hopkins Surgeon: The Long Way Here – Kofi Boahene’s Story

I am Kofi Boahene.
I am originally from Ghana. I am the first of seven children and this
is how my journey into medicine started. By Ghanian standards, I came from a wealthy
family but we lost that wealth pretty quickly over a short period of
time when there was coup in Ghana. It was around that same time that I saw
the faith in my parents and they became really grounded in the missionaries
and doing missionary work. I grew up in a country that
healthcare was a privilege. I saw people and from the members die of diseases that in this country is just
a simple thing to take care of. My uncle went into [inaudible
0:01:04] and never woke up. I had a friend who had joined us for some
different reason, was treated for malaria died and so healthcare was a really big deal. One of the things that motivated me to get
into medicine is how I saw physicians to come form abroad to Ghana to deliver care
and the difference they have made in people’s lives. We went straight from Ghana and we meet
students from around the world excited for our new opportunities and then we get on
the train for a day from Moscow to cross. We get accustom to our settlements
for just a day. Classes start the next day and I get
call over the group of people. I was just thinking somebody needs to
know where I am and so I can get to safety. I wasn’t being mistreated but I knew
I want where I supposed to be. One thing I gathered from the experience
of being taken from my classmates is just strength and persistence and this followed
me throughout my stay in Russia. You don’t give up easily. For a foreign student it was almost impossible
to get in to medical school. I finished my pre-medical requirements
in two years. I gained admission to med school.
I was excited about it and then two days before we start school, I am told, you are
a foreign student, we didn’t know that this is a state school, you can’t come and
it was a big, big, big disappointment. I thought you know I got so close but
maybe it wasn’t mean to be so that probably was the darkish moment and then
there was the question how are you going to pay for this.
I knocked on every door. It was more difficult than I thought so
one day, I was just walking home from school and my Chemistry professor
was jogging by. He sees me and says hi and said hey
what are you doing next year. I said I don’t know. So aren’t you going to medical
school? I said yes. I got in but I can’t find the money and he said well do you have the
forms for financially loan. I do but I can’t find somebody to co-sign
for it and he told me to run home and get the forms and meet me here.
I run as fast as I could and met him back at the junction and he got the papers
and the rest is history. It’s been 1990 to 1999, nine years that I
had not seen my mother actually and the first time I saw her was actually at
my graduation from medical school. That was I mean very joyful moment for me obviously. Not only was I graduated, I graduated the
top of my class so definitely obviously she was very, very proud and it was a
moment that I could share with her and with my dad. So here I was in graduation they called
me out, graduating fast, I got big award so I come out.
I gave them a big hug and then I repeated those three words.
I didn’t recall. Meaning I did it.
I did it. Now I find myself at the pinnacle of health
care delivery, the top hospital in the country. I really have come falsetto.
I am doing exactly what I want to do.


  1. His physical features are remarkable … very good looking guy. God bless him for having his heart in the right place and giving back to the community.

  2. Kudos my brother. I've gotta say, graduating medical school as THE #1 is marvelous; a wondrous feat. Then getting into Johns Hopkins for a residency/fellowship…My God. He's got it going on.

  3. You are truly motivating brother! I really thank God for words like yours, another impetus to continue my odyssey, to get a medical education in a foreign country. Thanks again!

  4. that's probably the most inspirational story I've ever heard in my life. I will think about this doctor every day during my medical school and when I graduate. This guy just became my hero.

  5. This guy is a role model to any pre med/med student who think its not possible. Anythings possible if you just have the heart to never give up. I wish i had half the heart this guy does

  6. Watching this makes me realize how trivial my problems are. I come from a well off family who is able to pay for me to go to school and I get all bummed out when I come home and my mom didn't buy Funyuns. I got to toughen up and get my head on straight.

  7. really nice history 🙂

    i just got in med school here in brazil (it's still pretty hard though), and i can't say i have something like this to share but i'm very happy to know i will find some incredible people like him through these years.

  8. Awesome. I feel like I need to get myself together. I spend too much time complaining. True inspiration Dr. Kofi

  9. He had an astonishing zeal to get his career! He is truly an ideal sample of the commitment one must possess in order to become a surgeon. I want to be an Orthopedic Spinal Cord Surgeon, and while I know my road wont be nearly as though as his, it will still prove to be quite a challenge to get there. This has boosted up my motivation a lot, and that is just what I was looking for. Thanks for uploading 🙂

  10. Super-inspirational! This shows that the path to glory is rough but it will be worth it in the end. Very encouraged-God bless you Dr. Boahene. From an aspiring physician also a Ghanaian. 

  11. Funny how similar his story is to mine. I spent 10 years in Medical School, presently in a former Soviet Country (Ukraine), about to graduate top of my set (already called and told I would get a red diplom) and hope to start a new wave in healthcare. 

    What ever it is, my passion is to improve the quality of life of people. Below is one part of it.

    I would like to spearhead a new department known as Neuroregenerative/Neurogenesis Neurosurgery dept. The main task is to use what we've learnt from Neuroscience: regeneration, neurogenesis and gene modification, clinically in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases (AD, PD, AML), brain injury (trauma, stroke) and possibly, oncological diseases (Glioma). I have articles about this.

  12. 1st, there is no such thing as disease(s). The medical profession/pharmaceutical companies give these conditions names strictly to market them to you so that you will buy their products. The body can be at dis–ease, and this cause by 1 of 4 ways: 1. Too much of a harmful substance enters (i.e. mercury, sugar, sodium); 2. something exits the body which is not suppose to (i.e. zinc, b6); 3. The body lacks essential nutrients (vitamin c, b12); 4 the body's elimination system is compromised: lymphatic system, liver, bile,colon, cells. Every so called disease is a result of one these 4 conditions. forget all these so called disease because they dont exist. Just as you have been lied to about religion, you are being lied to about medication and disease. It is a scam to control you, rob you of your money and make you sick. Simply by using those 4 rules you can cure any so called disease like cancer. Alzheimer, diabetes, and prevent strokes and heart attacks. 1. cancer is a fungus, 2 Alzheimer is a b12 deficiency in many cases and it is caused by vegetable oils…I can tell you the cure for anything…. One other thing, virus/bacteria does not cause diseases, they are the result of dis-ease. So, stop being zombies lining up for vaccines.

  13. His story, is not only amazing!!! But inspiring!!!!! Just made me more proud first as an African, and a Ghanaian. Kudos, Dr.

  14. I would like to one day reach or surpass what he did but I'm a mere mortal. Saved the video, to watch it every morning.

  15. WHAT
    Que luchador es este Doctor Boahene!!!
    Amazing journey and I have nothing but respect and gives me inspiration that the road to medicine- is not always a straight road.

  16. Inspiration and drive is all people need. Thank you very, very much Dr. Boahene for donating some of your time to inspire young medical students who wish one day to be somewhere near to where you are now.

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