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Resident Spotlight - Nana Mensah, MD

Dr. Nana Sarpong Mensah feels deep connections to her roots. Those roots, however, are planted in many different areas. “I’m from a lot of places,” Dr. Mensah said. “I was born in East Lansing, Michigan, but I grew up in Ghana and moved back to America after college.” No matter where her family lived, one thing that never changed was the importance her parents placed on education. “Both my parents have a PhD, so the minimum they would accept from my sister and me was a master’s degree.”

It was during her high school years in Ghana that Mensah’s interest in medicine was first sparked. She made monthly visits with the Red Cross to a village near her boarding school. During one visit, she treated a boy with an infected scrape on his knee, cleaning and bandaging his wound. At that point, I thought I’d like to do something health-related, maybe nursing,” Mensah said. “Then when I got to college, I started putting it together more. I like science. I like helping people, and I like figuring things out. Being a physician and thinking things through and solving medical mysteries, I thought that could be really intriguing.”

After graduating from college in Ghana, Mensah earned that master’s degree her parents expected from her, but it wasn’t just any post-graduate degree. She attended two Ivy League schools, earning a master’s in public health from Columbia University and completing a post-baccalaureate program at the University of Pennsylvania so she could qualify to attend medical school in the United States. “I moved back to America in 2007, but I didn’t graduate from medical school (at the University of Kentucky) until 2017, so it was a long journey,” Mensah said.

That journey then led her to Albany and the Phoebe Family Medicine Residency (PFMR). “When I came down to visit, that’s what sold it for me,” Mensah said. “When I met the residents and the people associated with the program, I knew this was a place I would fit in.”

PFMR is the only residency program at Phoebe, so residents don’t have to compete with residents in specialty programs for hands-on training. That was important to Mensah. “I like that I am being taught to do so many procedures because in family medicine, you can be called on to do anything.  I appreciate that the most. We get to come up with our plans, and as long as they are sound, they let us do them,” she said.

When Mensah finishes her residency, she hopes to use those skills to serve patients here in south Georgia. “We do see a lot of rural folks, and there is a need here, and I would definitely see myself staying in this region to practice,” Mensah said.  She is also determined to stay connected to her roots by serving patients through mission trips to her other home country. “I do want to take care of rural populations both here and back in Ghana,” she said, living up to the character revealed years ago as a teenager caring for a little boy with a skinned-up knee. “When I know I can help, I have to do my best to actually make a difference.”