Endocrinology & Metabolism Fellow Profile – Peggy Amoakohene

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Washington, DC while my dad was here on a diplomatic assignment. At the end of his tenure, at age three, we moved back to Ghana. I studied and trained at medical school in Ghana, at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Shortly after graduating from medical school, I met my now-husband and moved back to the US in 2014. After moving back to the US, I pursued my internal medicine residency at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN, and worked as a hospitalist at various hospitals in Maryland and Virginia, after graduation. In July 2019, I excitedly started my Endocrinology fellowship at UVA. I currently split my time between Northern Virginia and Charlottesville.

Why Healthcare?
I’ve always known since childhood I wanted to be a healthcare professional, first because of my vivid imagination while watching episodes of ‘ER’, picturing myself working in a fast-paced hospital saving numerous lives. As I grew older, I spent time engaging in various medical rotations/observerships at one of the major hospitals in Accra, Ghana, solidifying my intent and goals to make a positive impact in the lives of the sick. My father was very encouraging and supportive, bolstering my interest and desire. Lastly, I enjoyed internal medicine the most during my clerkship years and decided to pursue that further.

What brought you to Charlottesville?
My husband has been living in Virginia for years and did his Masters in IT, at the Mcintire School of Commerce. He had great things to say about UVA, especially regarding the quality of education he received. I did some further research into the Endocrinology program and then applied after completing a residency in 2018. After my interview with the faculty and fellows, I was convinced that UVA was the place for me.

Peggy Amoakohene UVAWhat excites you about your work?
The individual story and challenge each patient brings, and the variety of ways we work as a team to improve our patients’ lives. I also appreciate each attending’s perspective, insight, and unique style with regard to management.

Proudest/greatest achievement outside the professional realm?
In my 5th year of medical school, a few friends and I set up a foundation; Heal the Children to raise funds to cover the bills of needy pediatric patients at our hospital, especially those on the oncology unit. It made a huge difference in the lives of those families.

Next life?
I will be joining the Mary Washington Endocrinology Group in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I would like to pursue a career in academia, some years down the line as well. I am interested in volunteering and offering my expertise in under-resourced areas, so I hope to go to Ghana annually to do so.

What are you usually doing in your spare time?
Lately, I have turned into a baking and cooking enthusiast. I have a severe dairy allergy, which excludes most readily available pastries from my diet, so I have taught myself how to bake dairy-free goodies. Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite.

Peggy Amoakohene UVAHow did you meet your partner?
Eight years ago, I attended a birthday party with a family friend in Ghana. She introduced us, and through our long conversations, we hit it off, and the rest is history.

Favorite vacation/activity spot?
San Juan, Puerto Rico. My husband and I vacationed there during my residency and we loved it. The people, the culture, and the food reminded me of some parts of Ghana. The beaches were beautiful, and we got to engage in lots of adventurous activities such as ziplining, kayaking at night, and hiking in remote regions.

Most admired person, and why?
There are quite a number of people I admire, but I would like to highlight Prof. Jacob Plange-Rhule. He was my physiology lecturer during medical school, who unfortunately passed away a few months ago. He was an excellent teacher and physician, who was invested in his student’s education. He was down to earth, worked hard, and had a generous heart. He was also a well-rounded individual, not just in the field of medicine where he worked as a nephrologist, medicine attending, and physiology lecturer but also in golf, and multiple social activities. His ability to maintain a work-life balance was very admirable.

Best advice anyone ever gave you?
One of my attendings in residency told me to ‘always strive to be the best you can be’. And I think it has really paid off. I have grown to realize that people do appreciate hard work.

What about you would surprise us?
I am pretty adventurous. I am that person, who wants to try all those daredevil stunts, go on the scariest rides, or just try new activities. I look forward to skydiving soon.

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