Department welcomes new spine surgeon

Stefan Kim, MD, officially began seeing patients on July 1, 2020, following two years of serving as a missionary neurosurgery consultant at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya, Africa. “I truly believe life has greater meaning when you devote yourself to serving others, especially those who are poor and desperate,” he said. “There is about one neurosurgeon for about two to three million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, so it is not hard to imagine that many people, especially the poor, have virtually no access to surgical care and many perish as a result.”

Dr. Kim devoted most of his work in Africa to pediatrics, treating everything from hydrocephalus and spina bifida to brain and spine tumors to spinal deformities. “There are certain pathologies that we rarely see in the United States,” he said. “Some procedures, such as repair of spina bifida in newborns and endoscopic surgeries to relieve hydrocephalus, are performed much more frequently.”

Prior to his time in Africa, Dr. Kim spent 10 years on the neurosurgery staff at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, MA, and as a Clinical Assistant Professor for Tufts University School of Medicine, in Boston. He is excited about being back in an academic setting. “I really enjoy interacting with residents and look forward to learning and growing with them,” he said. “I also hope to have opportunities to expose some of the residents to neurosurgical work in Africa.”

Dr. Kim specializes in neurosurgical treatment of the spine, including degenerative disk disease, spine tumors, trauma, and deformities. His research interests focus on spine oncology and deformities. “The U of M has an excellent orthopedic and neurosurgery spine program and I look forward to participating in the collaborative research efforts,” he said.

After earning a BS in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and his MD from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston Salem, NC, Dr. Kim completed his neurosurgery residency at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. He then completed a neurosurgical and spine oncology fellowship in the Department of Neurosurgery of the University of Texas at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

At home in the Twin Cities, Dr. Kim spends his free time reading and hanging out with his wife and five children. “We enjoy biking, hiking, and camping together,” he said. “Minnesota turns out to be a wonderful place for our family with all its beautiful lakes, parks and numerous hiking trails.”

Learn more about Dr. Kim.

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