SETTING THINGS STRAIGHT
Celebrated orthopedics surgeon Professor Oheneba Boachie-Adjei speaks about the decision to leave his successful New York practice in order to serve the needy in his homeland of Ghana. ThePeak meets him in Hong Kong, where his Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) was featured by global investment bank Goldman Sachs recently as part of its philanthropic efforts. It’s not often you meet someone who walks away from financial security and solid career success in order to give back to country and society. But Professor Oheneba Boachie-Adjei did just that, leaving behind a thriving practice in orthopedics in New York City to return to his birth country of Ghana and set up the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS), as well as oversee the FOCOS Orthopedic Hospital in Accra, a specialised centre dedicated to provide orthopedics and spine care to the needy. Professor Boachie, as he is popularly referred to, was honoured with the 2004 Humanitarian Award by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Not that his good work didn’t go unnoticed by others. Recently, FOCOS Board members employed by the Hong Kong arm of renowned investment bank Goldman Sachs helped organise a spectacular fundraising gala for FOCOS, in conjunction with Goldman Sachs’ Philanthropy Day, designed to share the message of giving in the culture of Goldman Sachs with clients, while encouraging and educating others to develop their own philanthropic agenda. An A-List crowd turned up in support, including NBA legends Yao Ming and Dikembe Mutombo, CNN correspondent Isha Sesay, Caryl Stern, President & CEO of the US Fund for UNICEF, and Ronald Chao, Founder of the Bai Xian Asia Institute.
Born in Kumasi, Ghana, in 1950, Professor Boachie hails from the Ashanti warrior clan. His father, a chief, named him Oheneba Boachie (which means ‘prince’ and ‘keeper of the treasure’, respectively). “My parents separated when I was just two years old, so I was brought up by my grandmother until the age of 10,” he says. “Around the age of six, I’d fallen very ill. And my family, who had very little money then, could only afford to bring me to traditional healers. It was a stroke of luck that they encountered a young Ghanaian doctor, who’d returned from abroad to set up his practice back home.” It turned out to be a godsend as it was to be Professor Boachie’s