Known as “Match Day” across the nation, March 17th is the equivalent of Christmas for graduating medical students in the U.S. All across the country, hopeful young doctors wait with bated breath for a white envelope to arrive — an envelope that contains all of their hopes and dreams for the future. Inside each is the name of the hospital at which they will be completing their residencies. One of the most formative periods in a young physician’s career, residency can extend from three to seven years and is designed to test students on their abilities to apply everything they’ve learned in a working hospital under demanding conditions. It’s a joyful day for many but for graduating neurosurgery student Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, it was history in the making.
While Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s neurosurgery department has been accepting graduates for more than 30 years, Abu-Bonsrah will be the first black female neurosurgery resident to grace its halls. With the program ranked second in the country, only two to five residents are accepted per year.
Nana, as Abu-Bonsrah is known, is originally from Ghana and attended medical school at Johns Hopkins. Born and raised in Ghana, she has been living and working in Maryland for the last 11 years alongside her husband Kwabena Yamoah, who was also accepted into a residency program at Johns Hopkins. “Everything is special about the match. It will be a dream come true,” Abu-Bonsrah said. “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.”
“I hope to be able to go back to Ghana over the course of my career to help in building sustainable surgical infrastructure” Abu-Bonsrah explained in an interview with CNN. While groundbreaking, the moment also holds deep personal significance. Not only will she be the first black female neurosurgery resident at the prestigious institution, but she will also be the first physician in her family.
Read the full story at Essence.