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LVC Biology Alum Shares How His Dream Came True

Dr. Eyako Kofi Wurapa received his biology degree from LVC before going on to a storied medical career

Dr. Eyako Kofi Wurapa ’90 has made a difference worldwide since choosing The Valley due to its student-to-faculty ratio, a strong recommendation from his Conestoga Valley High School counselor, and because he wanted to make a difference on the men’s soccer team. These factors led Wurapa to select LVC over schools such as Franklin & Marshall and Gettysburg, which turned out well for his academic, athletic, military, and professional careers. 

Excelling as a biology major under the tutelage of legendary faculty members Dr. Dale Erskine, Dr. Sidney Pollack, Dr. Paul Wolf, and Dr. Allan Wolfe, all professors emeritus, Wurapa also excelled on the soccer pitch. There, he helped his Dutchmen teammates end the NCAA’s longest losing streak. Academically, he continued a family tradition that boasts five medical doctors. 

Wurapa, who grew up in Ghana, West Africa, was also inspired to pursue a career in medicine from an early age. “My father ran a medical outreach mission from his church,” he noted. “I was in contact with numerous missionary doctors and medical workers who volunteered there.” 

The next step of his dream was realized after being accepted to the Penn State College of Medicine, earning his doctor of medicine degree in 1995. 

Joining the military was not in his original plans as a teenager but Wurapa did not have the money to pay for college and medical school. “The U.S. Army paid for my undergraduate and medical school degrees and I enjoyed repaying my commitment so much I spent 23 years in the military.

“I always wanted to work in Africa but being in the military limited that option,” Wurapa said. “However, the U.S. Army had a lab in Kenya so I went back to school to earn a master’s degree in Tropical Medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). My dream came true and I was sent to Kenya to direct the Department of Global Emerging Infections.” He later earned a second master’s, in epidemiology, from USUHS.

This new career path enabled Wurapa to work on projects in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Cameroon, and Madagascar. He previously served four tours of duty with his Special Forces Unit 3rd SFG in Afghanistan.

After retiring from the Army in 2017 and earning the Bronze Star and Legion of Merit military awards, Wurapa entered private practice as a  physician with Patient First and ComForCare Home Care in Maryland. Just three years into private practice, COVID-19 hit the U.S.

“Working in an urgent care setting, I deal with walk-in patients so must treat everyone as though they have COVID-19 first,” said Wurapa. “Safety for my patients and family—our youngest child is 4 and my father, who lives with us, is 93—was a paramount concern. Not having an effective treatment for the virus and having limited testing capabilities at the onset was frustrating.”

Despite these initial difficulties, Wurapa, a 2020 America’s Top Doctor, is optimistic. “I strongly know a vaccine will be soon developed. In the meantime, please, please get a flu shot this fall.”