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A Conversation with Dr. Thomas Frimpong on His Passion for Neurosurgery and Saving Lives

Born in Ghana, West Africa, Thomas Frimpong moved to the United States in 1996 at the age of 16 and attended high school and college in Massachusetts. Dr. Thomas Frimpong attended medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania, achieving his Osteopathic Medicine doctorate. He finished his Neurosurgery residency at Virginia Tech […]

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Dr. Thomas Frimpong
Dr. Thomas Frimpong

Born in Ghana, West Africa, Thomas Frimpong moved to the United States in 1996 at the age of 16 and attended high school and college in Massachusetts.

Dr. Thomas Frimpong attended medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania, achieving his Osteopathic Medicine doctorate. He finished his Neurosurgery residency at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke and then completed a fellowship in minimally invasive and complex spine surgery at Bassett Healthcare — Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, where he functioned as a neurosurgery attending and a clinical instructor in Neurological Surgery.

Dr. Thomas Frimpong is a member of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons, The International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, and the North American Spine Society. In 2020, he joined SpineMed Specialists, bringing a unique skill set to the care of people with spinal disorders, with expertise in adolescent and adult scoliosis, complex spinal disorders, and minimally invasive surgery. 

Currently residing in Wichita, Kansas, Dr. Thomas Frimpong is passionate about helping his patients and improving their quality of life. He hopes to someday build a hospital in his home country of Ghana and improve healthcare in the region and other developing countries.

Why did you decide to create your own business?

I wanted the flexibility to be able to call my own shots and work my own hours. I can manage things on my own, set my own deadlines, and create my own working environment to pursue my passion to help people. It about creative freedom and the personal satisfaction that comes with that.

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

The medical field is constantly being updated and innovated. There is still so much to learn about the human brain, pathophysiological functions, and pain generators in the spine.  This creates tremendous potential for research and development.

What does a typical day consist of for you?

I am in private solo practice. My days are spent taking neurosurgery call, been in the operating room, seeing patients in the clinic and hospital. I spend some time on marketing and building physician referral volume.

What keeps you motivated?

My effort to save lives keeps me motivated. What I do helps to save people and extend the quality of their lives. I take pride in helping patients improve their situations. There is the thrill of solving a difficult problem.

How do you motivate others?

I try to make sure that there is a healthy work/life balance for my employees. I try to be fair to all of them and to treat them with respect. I encourage their autonomy so they can be in control of their part of the business. I praise them when they do something good, and I also allow them to be able to voice their concerns and honest complaints when they feel the need.

How has your company grown from its early days to now?

The patient volume has increased and that has led to much growth in the organization. Our physical space has expanded so we can serve more patients. The quality of employees we have is much better, particularly at the management and staff level. Our customer relationships have improved, not to mention the power of the technology we have access to now.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

My neurosurgery residency program director and my spine fellowship program director were both positive surgical role models. They exemplified all the qualities that I strive to be, and they made a great learning environment for me to grow and learn. They were both very ethical, always doing what they thought was right for the patient. They did not do it for any other reasons. They were excellent educators, very professional and creative and just phenomenal people.

How do you maintain a solid work-life balance?

A couple of things that I do to maintain balance are exercising and spending time with family. Those are the biggest things. I also keep up with friends and staff outside of work. I want to be more involved in mission work to help with health care in third world and developing countries. I am from Ghana and my plan is to one day build a hospital in my home country. That is one of my greatest passions.

What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?

One thing I would say is they have to have passion for neurosurgery and work hard. Getting into this field is not a sprint, it is a marathon. You are not running for just a few minutes and then you are done. It helps to be curious, self-directed learner and maintain a positive attitude at work.

What has been the hardest obstacle you have overcome?

The hardest thing now is trying to figure out which opinions about me and what I am doing are constructive and something to learn from and which ones are just an obstacle in the way to getting things done. I do care what other people think, but it is important to discern between what advice to listen to because it is useful and what to ignore.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Graduating from medical school and now being able to provide state of the art care for my patients has been my biggest accomplishment. 

What trends in your industry excite you?

The development of minimally invasive procedures in both spine and brain surgeries as well as navigation and robotic technology in spine surgery are trends that excite me. 

Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

In five years, I want to grow my company to bring in different service lines related to neurosurgery: Physical therapy, occupational therapy, maybe hiring more pain management doctors and more neurosurgeons to join me.  

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