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Sommer Scholars

J. W. Awori Hayanga, MD, MPH, FRCS, FACS

  • Country of Origin: Kenya
  • MPH '08

In 2000, Awori Hayanga made a sobering realization: Over half of his young male cousins in rural western Kenya were dead, victims of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “I knew the problem, but despite my medical education, I felt that there was nothing I had done or was doing to prevent the situation,” he says. “I wanted to know why I was not yet part of the solution.”

Hayanga brings a transnational perspective to his homeland’s health crisis: Educated at a Catholic international school in Nairobi, he left Kenya in 1994 to study medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland. Since 2003, he’s been a surgical resident at Johns Hopkins and a critical care fellow at the University of Michigan. His exposure to the best medical resources of the developed world, he says, has made him determined to bridge the gap. “I would seek to serve as a voice through which the indigenous tribal African opinion may be broadcast on an international platform without too much loss in translation,” he says.“Minimizing charity and maximizing enterprise—this is my mission.”

To serve as a resource and authority on health, patient safety and education policy in resource-poor settings in the world

Current Position

Associate Professor in Cardiothoracic Surgery, West Virginia University; Director, ECMO program; Director of Quality, Thoracic Surgery; Director, Lung Transplant Program