30 mins

034 – Dr. Ampadu on creating a charity to help childhood literacy

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We all know that literacy is very important, because it’s connected to how we interact in the world and has a large impact in how we do economically in society. In developing countries, childhood literacy is a problem and my next guest has decided to do something about this issue.

Dr. Akua Ampadu is the founder and CEO of Healing Words Foundation. The mission of Healing Words is to provide books and other forms of literacy to children in pediatric wards and outpatient clinics in developing nations. On a 4th year medical student externship in Accra, Ghana, Akua noticed on the pediatric ward that after being seen by doctors and staff – these children spent hours in bed without anything to do. Some of these children spent several weeks recovering in these wards, and without proper cognitive stimulation, these children were at a distinct disadvantage when they returned back to school.

This experience sparked the idea for creating a charity and she literally Googled her way into creating Healing Words. From the website: Healing words seeks to provide an opportunity to retreat into the comfort of a book, allowing the imagination to take flight, if even for a short while. Healing Words Foundation recognizes the importance of reading to a child’s holistic health, and uses bibliotherapy to ignite and perpetuate a love for books among patients and their families.

Healing Words has been very successful and so far has sent books to notable hospitals in Ghana such as the Foundation of Orthopedic & Complex Spine (FOCOS) Hospital, which provides comprehensive orthopedic care to those who might not otherwise have access to this.

Dr. Ampadu obtained her undergraduate studies from Penn State University. She then went on to complete her medical school training at The Ohio State University. Her internal medicine training was done at Newark Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. Currently, Akua is practicing as a hospitalist.

Things to pick up in this episode:

  • The implications of her decision to be an independent contractor
  • The pride she feels looking at herself more as a business than as an individual doctor
  • How she Googled her way into creating a charity
  • Advice on the pitfalls in creating a charity
  • Her lifehack that makes her very productive and efficient
  • How she answers #imnotjustadoc

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