First black woman accepted to Johns Hopkins neurosurgery residency

Plans to return to Ghana with valuable experience

Nancy Abu-Bonsrah is now in the final month of her medical school education at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. That alone is an accomplishment, but it comes prefaced by her recent acceptance into the Hopkins School of Medicine’s Neurosurgery Department, where she will begin working in July of this year. The news was first announced on March 17, known in the United States as “Match Day” because that is when medical students discover their residency assignments. Abu-Bonsrah’s match with Hopkins makes her the first ever African-American woman to be a member of this 30-year-old program. On Facebook, she gushed over the opportunity: “I still haven’t processed it yet but this is such an honor and a privilege to join the department at Hopkins to begin the next phase of my career.”

Abu-Bonsrah left Ghana when she was 15 years old, and first arrived into the American school system in 10th grade. She later applied to Mount St. Mary’s, primarily because the application process was free of charget there. At the university was where her interest in science was first piqued. Dr. Christine McCauslin, biochemistry professor at Mount St. Mary’s, was a key influence on Abu-Bonsrah’s progress. It was Dr. McCauslin who introduced Abu-Bonsrah to the idea of brain specialization in her freshman year, once inviting her to look at how different genes are regulated during a neurological response.

Abu-Bonsrah has been working to obtain the necessary medical knowledge to help her homeland in the best way she can. “I am very much interested in providing medical care in under-served settings, specifically surgical care. I hope to be able to go back to Ghana over the course of my career to help in building sustainable surgical infrastructure,” she said in a news release published by Johns Hopkins.

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