Dr. Kwadwo Sarpong is not your typical neurosurgeon. He is a man who has overcome incredible odds and challenges to achieve his dream of becoming a brain surgeon at one of the most prestigious medical centers in the world: Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Dr. Sarpong was born and raised in Ghana, a country in West Africa that has only 13 neurosurgeons for a population of over 30 million people. He immigrated to the United States in 2009 with his family, hoping for a better life and education. However, he faced many hardships and barriers as a new immigrant. He had to work as a janitor at a hospital to support himself and his family, while attending community college and learning English.
Despite these difficulties, Dr. Sarpong never gave up on his passion for neuroscience and medicine. He excelled in his studies and transferred to Emory University in Atlanta, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology in 2015. He then pursued his medical degree at Georgetown University School of Medicine, where he graduated in 2022.
During his medical school years, Dr. Sarpong developed a keen interest in global neurosurgery, which is the field of providing neurosurgical care to low- and middle-income countries that lack adequate resources and infrastructure. He founded several nonprofits to address the unmet research and neurosurgical needs in these countries, such as the African Research Academies for Women and the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children.
He also became an avid advocate for gender parity in STEM and health equity across the globe. He mentored and inspired many young women and girls from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue careers in science and medicine. He also participated in various leadership roles and initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in the medical profession.
Dr. Sarpong’s achievements and contributions have been recognized by many awards and honors, such as the Paul Farmer Global Surgery Fellowship, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Medical Student Award, the Georgetown University School of Medicine Gold Humanism Award, and the Emory University 40 Under Forty Alumni Award.
In 2022, Dr. Sarpong matched into the neurosurgery residency program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, one of the most competitive and prestigious programs in the country. He is currently in his second year of training, where he is learning from some of the best neurosurgeons in the world and providing cutting-edge care to patients with complex neurological disorders.
Dr. Sarpong’s story is one of resilience, perseverance, and excellence. He is a role model and an inspiration to many people who face challenges and obstacles in their lives. He is also a testament to the power of education, mentorship, and service. He is a man who has gone from being a janitor to a brain surgeon, but he has never forgotten his roots or his mission.
He says: “I am grateful for every opportunity that I have been given, and I want to use my skills and knowledge to make a positive impact on the world. I believe that everyone deserves access to quality health care, regardless of where they are born or live. I also believe that everyone has the potential to achieve their dreams, no matter how big or small they are.”
In Africa, there are only approximately 0.3 neurosurgeons per 100,000 people, compared to about 3.5 in North America, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). This indicates that millions of Africans lack access to neurosurgical treatment that could save their lives for ailments like brain tumours, stroke, trauma, epilepsy, and hydrocephalus.
Dr. Sarpong wants to use his expertise to boost neurosurgical capability and results in low-resource regions like Africa. Additionally, he wants to mentor and train the upcoming group of African neurosurgeons who will carry on his work.
In other news, Peter Bawuah is a Ghanaian man who has overcome many challenges and achieved remarkable success in his educational journey. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Windsor in Canada, where he was elected as the student ambassador for international students. He is also a motivational speaker, a graduate teaching assistant, and the founder of Peterhills Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports education and empowerment in Ghana.
Peter’s story is one of resilience, perseverance, and faith. He was born and raised in a village in Ghana, where he had to work hard to support his family and pay for his education. He sold coconut on the streets, worked as a house boy, and did various odd jobs to make ends meet. He faced many difficulties and hardships, but he never gave up on his dreams.
“I always believed that God can lift anybody from anywhere to anywhere,” he said in a video on his YouTube channel, PETER BAWUAH TV. Continue reading about Peter’s story here.
Dr. Kwadwo Sarpong and Peter are men who should be celebrated for their remarkable journey and achievements.