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New class to be inducted into Medical Mission Hall of Fame

A family medicine physician who recently recovered from Ebola contracted during medical mission work in Liberia, a neonatal pediatric specialist with a focus on improving the health of mothers and babies in Pakistan, and an orthopedic surgeon working to correct spinal defects for people in Africa are members of the 14th class to be inducted into The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences’ Medical Mission Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremony recognizing Dr. Richard Sacra, Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta and Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei will be held 7 p.m. Saturday, March 19 in Collier Building Room 1000 on UT’s Health Science Campus. 

For more than two decades, Dr. Richard Sacra has worked with Serving in Mission, an international Christian organization, as a medical missionary in Liberia, West Africa. He is a family medicine faculty physician at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and divides his time between Massachusetts and Liberia.

In September 2014, he contracted Ebola virus disease in Liberia, even though he was not treating known Ebola patients. He was evacuated by air ambulance to the University of Nebraska’s Biocontainment Unit in Omaha. Along with ICU-level care, he was given an experimental drug and blood serum from a colleague who was infected first. Sacra was released after 20 days when his blood tested negative for the virus and full recovery took several months. He returned to his work in Liberia in January 2015.

He began his career in Liberia in 1995 in the midst of the civil war. After he and his family evacuated during an outbreak of fighting in Monrovia in 1996, he returned in 1997 to help re-open Eternal Love Winning Africa Hospital, which had been looted and vandalized. From 1998 to 2010, Sacra lived and worked in Liberia full time with his wife and three sons, directed the medical staff at the hospital, and taught medical students at the University of Liberia Medical School. When they began to see patients with HIV and AIDS, he initiated a program at the hospital to provide treatment, education and support to those who were living with HIV.

When Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta launched his career, neonatal pediatrics was barely a concept in his home country of Pakistan. Today, he is credited as a major force in putting the health of mothers and their babies on the development agenda not just in Pakistan, but around the world.

He is founding director of the Centre of Excellence in Women & Child Health at the Aga Khan University, with campuses in South-Central Asia, East Africa and the United Kingdom; the Robert Harding Chair in Global Child Health and Policy; co-director of SickKids Centre for Global Child Health; senior scientist at the Research Institute at the Hospital for Sick Children; and professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Nutritional Sciences and Public Health at the University of Toronto.

He is a leading researcher in newborn and child survival, maternal and child under-nutrition, and micronutrient deficiencies. In Pakistan, he has been a driving force in improving maternal and child health through his efforts with the Lady Health Workers program and in advocating for changes to national and provincial health and nutrition policies.

Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei has dedicated his life to correcting incidents of pervasive spinal defects found among many of his African countrymen. As founder and president of the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine, he has helped provide orthopedic medical care to underserved populations in West Africa and other developing nations since 1998. 

Born in Kumasi, Ghana, one of the poorest areas of Africa, Boachie-Adjei and his family immigrated to the United States in 1972. His career has included serving as assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Minnesota; clinical assistant professor at the University of Southern California and assistant clinical professor at the University of California College of Medicine in Irvine; and associate medical director at the Southern California Complex Spine and Scoliosis Center.

In 2014, Boachie-Adjei said he left the Hospital for Spinal Surgery in New York to devote his time and talents on one of the most debilitating medical conditions in Ghana. He holds several patents for devices used in spine surgery.

In addition to inducting these hall of fame members, Dr. Daniel M. Johnson, UT president emeritus, will receive the Lawrence V. Conway Distinguished Lifetime Service Award, and the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences Alumni Community Award will be given to Dr. Pamela J. Oatis.

Johnson became president of UT in 2001 and in 2006 helped lead the merger with the Medical University of Ohio. While serving in higher education leadership positions for more than 30 years, he developed collaborations and partnerships among public universities, government entities, industrial corporations and international organizations. Johnson has been an ardent promoter of the Global Medical Missions Hall of Fame Foundation.

A 1981 graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Oatis is a pediatrician who has worked with children and families at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center Family Care Center in Toledo for almost 35 years. She heads the Mercy Family Care Team, which connects families to a medical provider to care for them and their child, palliative care for children who are chronically ill, and family counseling. Oatis also is a clinical faculty member at UT’s College of Medicine and Life Sciences. 

The Medical Mission Hall of Fame was founded in 2004 by Dr. Lawrence V. Conway, UT professor emeritus of finance, to honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to advancing the medical well-being of people around the world. In 2006, the Medical Mission Hall of Fame became affiliated with the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences. The hall of fame can be seen in the lobby of the Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center.

RSVPs are requested for the free, public event: Call 419.530.2586 or 1.800.235.6766, or email

Click here to download photographs of the individuals being honored.

Media Coverage
13 ABC (March 21, 2016)
The Blade (March 16, 2016)

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