#121: Same Surgeon, Different Light: Dr. Jacques Kpodonu

January 21, 2022

In this episode, Dr. David Tom Cooke interviews Dr. Jacques Kpodonu, from Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Listeners will discover fascinating personal details, like why Dr. Kpodonu considers himself an “international gentleman.” He was born in Paris, France—his mom’s home city, but at 8 years old, moved to his dad’s country of Ghana. Throughout his childhood years, the family moved back and forth between the two countries several times. In Ghana, Dr. Kpodonu’s dad served as the country’s first cardiologist, and today, at 84 years old, he is still practicing medicine—"as active as ever.” After attending medical school at the University of Ghana, Dr. Kpodonu felt a “pull” to complete his training in the US. Why cardiothoracic surgery? His dad’s influence pushed him to “do something with the heart.” From an early age, he was reading EKGs for his dad—“making some money on the side.” A staunch advocate for global health equity, Dr. Kpodonu details his work with health care disparities in underserved communities. He also illustrates an exciting future for the specialty and advises young cardiothoracic surgeons to “keep an open mind.”

“Same Surgeon, Different Light” is a program from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons designed to demystify cardiothoracic surgery, revealing the men and women behind their surgical masks.

Learn more about STS diversity and inclusion efforts at sts.org/diversity.

Patients can learn more about cardiothoracic diseases and their treatments at ctsurgerypatients.org.