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Meet Dr Kofi Boahene, the Ghanaian doctor rebuilding faces

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Updated: August 1, 2017

Ghana, Russia, United States and Australia are only a few of countries where Dr. Derek Kofi O. Boahene has lived and studied, and his current approach to Facial Plastic Surgery is a true reflection of his international education.

Dr. Boahene is an Associate Professor of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

His practice encompasses the entire spectrum of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, including cosmetic procedures, corrective surgery for congenital facial defects, facial paralysis, open and endoscopic minimally invasive skull base surgery, microsurgery, reconstruction of cancer patients and extensive post-traumatic deformities. As a facial plastic surgeon, Dr Boahene specializes solely in plastic surgery of the face, head and neck. As such his patients are assured of a focused expertise. He treats both children and adults.

Dr. Boahene grew up in Ghana, West Africa where he completed his primary and secondary education. In 1991, he traveled to Russia to pursue training in veterinary medicine. “It raises eyebrows each time someone finds out I studied veterinary medicine,” says Dr. Boahene, adding that friends joke he is “one of the few people they know that can perform surgery on anything that moves . . . animal or human.” He became fluent in the Russian language at a time where the former Soviet Union was opening its doors to the outside world.  Then, a mentor encouraged him to do something that would change the course of his life: come to the U.S. with the goal of becoming a medical doctor.

Dr. Boahene received his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN, graduating with the highest honors in his class. Dr. Boahene completed his residency in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the world-reknowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “I am proud to be a Mayo aluminus. Mayo Clinic fostered my interest in international medicine.  Mayo’s patients come from different countries, the physicians are international in background and expertise.”

At Mayo he received an International Medicine travel grant and was able to participate in his first medical mission to Mexico.  Since then, Dr. Boahene has been on medical mission trips to Peru and his native country, Ghana. “I enjoy medical missions. It is where you see physicians at their best . . . working with little, complaining the least, but accomplishing the most.”   Read more about Dr. Boahene’s mission trips with Children Surgery International at www.childrenssurgeryintl.org.

A strong sense of achievement may be one reason Dr. Boahene has been honored in so many ways over the years.  In 1993, he received the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honors Award.  In 1998 and 1999 he was selected as a minority scholar in cancer research by the American Academy of Cancer Researchers (AACR).   At Mayo, he received a Best Teacher Recognition Award and the Distinguished Mayo Brothers Fellowship Award. Recently, Dr. Boahene was awarded the Jack R. Anderson Prize for Scholastic Excellence, for attaining the highest score in the nation on written and oral examination administered by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS).

In his roles as teacher and researcher, Kofi has given a wide variety of lectures, including local, national and international presentations. His research work has included work on elucidating the pathophysiology of chronic sinusitis, electrophysiology of transmembrane ion trafficking, and cancer of the facial nerve and parotid gland.  Presently he is focusing on using tissue engineering methods to develop cartilage and bone for reconstruction in the head and neck.  His research also focuses on reanimating the paralyzed face.  He has written several scientific articles and abstracts and has contributed chapters to several textbooks in his specialty.

“I am privileged to have been given the opportunity to receive excellent training and mentorship, and hope to make a positive impact in whatever community I find myself.”

Credit: drboahene.com

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