Getting to Know: Eric Kahugu
Where are you now?Nairobi, Kenya. My career and commitments have led me to travel all over the world, but there is no place like home.
What's your official title? What does it mean to you?Consultant maxillofacial surgeon and board member. I have also served as the chairman of Kenya Hospital’s Division of Surgery and Standards and Ethics Committee and Vice Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee. I believe in contributing to the growth and running of any organization I am involved in, so I am happy I have achieved this goal in the hospital.
What is your educational background?I did my undergraduate studies in Nairobi, Kenya then went to the United Kingdom for my post graduate training.
Why did you become a surgeon?I always wanted to be a surgeon. I used to dissect rats at home during high school holidays having anesthetized them with ether. I still smile when I imagine what my mother must have felt about this! When I joined university and met my mentor, an oral maxillofacial surgeon, I knew that was what I would be.
What's the best professional advice that anyone ever gave you?
What books are on your nightstand?
Coffee or tea?
Black tea and herbal tea (Rooibos).
Name five artists on your iPodBrian Culbertson, Gerald Albright, Boney James, Marion Meadows, Bebe Winans.
What is most fulfilling to you in your work?Offering my surgical skills on a charitable basis to the needy has been the most fulfilling, followed by teaching and facilitating training for surgeons, through the various organizations I work with.
"Being a part of AO CMF has been very fulfilling. The friendships and networking opportunities it creates are amazing. The courses always provide something new for one to learn, no matter what role one plays or how experienced one is."
Tell us about the most important experience in your life as a surgeon.
The first one was when a high school teacher, whom I did not know and who worked in a town very far off, came to my clinic and told me that he had an article about me pasted on the wall of his classroom. He said he did it to inspire his young students. I was so humbled.
The second was when a young lady I had operated on as a toddler to repair her cleft lip and palate, came to my clinic many years later and told me she is now a qualified dentist. What a special feeling.
The things we do impact people’s lives greatly. We must always remember this and take that responsibility seriously and always offer our best.
If you weren't working in the medical field, what would your dream job be?I can’t imagine being away from the medical field. I guess if I weren’t a surgeon, I would be running a large hospital.
Do you have a mantra or favorite saying?This ain’t no dress rehearsal; life is now!
In a few words, what does AO CMF mean to you?
AOCMF is one of the most influential and inspiring global medical organizations. Being a part of AO CMF grows a surgeon professionally and personally, through interaction and sharing of knowledge, skills and friendship with people from all over the world.
I was first introduced to AO CMF in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I became more involved in AO CMF from 2006 when I started to attend several courses. I got even more involved in the past decade when I have served as faculty in many courses and visited many countries. In the more recent years I have been involved in more organizational roles, participating in the faculty retreats, organizing courses, helping grow AO CMF in Africa and being a member of the AO CMF Web Editorial Board.
Being a part of AO CMF has been very fulfilling. The friendships and networking opportunities it creates are amazing. The courses always provide something new for one to learn, no matter what role one plays or how experienced one is. The interaction with colleagues from all over the world is always up lifting.
Working with colleagues in the editorial board and with the AO staff is great; everyone is so committed to partnership and achieving the objectives.
I look forward to increasing my responsibilities and contribution as time goes on.