BY Dollita Okine, 8:54am July 10, 2024,

Ghanaian becomes first African-American woman to graduate from Johns Hopkins neurosurgery program 

Dr. Nancy Abu-Bonsrah makes history. Photo Credit: X, Anna/Dr. Nancy Abu-Bonsrah

Born in Ghana, Dr. Nancy Abu-Bonsrah is now the first African-American woman to graduate from the seven-year neurosurgery program at Johns Hopkins in the United States.

She made headlines in 2017 when she became the first African-American female resident in the program’s 30-year history. Only two to five residents are accepted into the esteemed program, which is ranked second in the nation. Neurosurgeon and author Dr. Ben Carson is one of its most renowned alumni.

Abu-Bonsrah commemorated her achievements on X on June 21, with the caption, “12 years @HopkinsMedicine came to an end last weekend, surrounded by family. Surreal that I’m done @HopkinsNsurg! #olderandwiser #latenightreflections.”

For 12 years at Johns Hopkins, Abu-Bonsrah explored her clinical interests in neurosurgery, neurotrauma, and neurosurgical capacity building in Ghana and other low and middle-income countries, according to

According to the source, the pioneer completed her Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2022, which was supported by the Global Health Scholarship and MPH Scholarship Awards. This was besides being awarded a Doctor of Medicine in 2017. She has also co-written over 70 peer-reviewed articles.

As she reflected on her seven years at the Johns Hopkins’ neurosurgery program, she acknowledged her mentors and the teachers at Mount St. Mary’s University’s School of Natural Science and Mathematics (SNSM).

She told in an interview, “I’m especially grateful for the mentorship from Dr. Christine McCauslin during my time at the Mount. Her support for me, personally and professionally, knew no bounds.”

“I’m also grateful to several of the science faculty, including Dr. Kreke, Dr. Staiger, Dr. Miles, and Dr. Ward, among others. The science department holds a special place in my heart. I am lucky to have had their encouragement through the years!” she added.

The revolutionary woman has received multiple honors, including winning the Neurosurgeon Research and Education Foundation (NREF) Directed Residency Scholarship and the Hopkins Neurosurgery Department Irving J. Sherman Traveling Fellowship Award in 2021 while she was a neurosurgery resident.

In 2022, she was named a finalist for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Practice Awards for Excellence in International Public Health Practice. She also won the Hopkins Neurosurgery Department Louise Eisenhardt Award in 2023 and the Association for Academic Surgery/Association for Academic Surgery Foundation (AAS/AASF) Global Surgery Research Award in 2022.

Following the end of her training as a neurosurgeon, Abu-Bonsrah can now be found working at UPMC Williamsport Hospital.

Abu-Bonsrah was born and raised in Ghana before moving to the United States at the age of 15.

She told CNN in a 2017 interview, “I hope to be able to go back to Ghana over the course of my career to help in building sustainable surgical infrastructure.”

“I want to be remembered for serving my community, whether it is through providing quality surgical care or helping mentor the next generation of surgeons. Unique thing: Everything is special about the match. It will be a dream come true,” she said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 10, 2024


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