2023 FOCOS
NYC Fundraising Gala




Dedicated to Hope,
Healing, and Recovery



Ziegfeld Ballroom
141 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019

Focos Gala




Dedicated to Hope,
Healing, and Recovery



Ziegfeld Ballroom
141 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019


The purpose of 2023 FOCOS Gala is to support the mission in providing access to high quality, affordable and specialized orthopedic care to those, primarily in Ghana and the broader African region, who would not otherwise have access to such treatment. This event will mark our first official in-person gala since the pandemic in 2020.

The highlight of this event is to celebrate 25 years of providing state-of-the-art orthopedic care and education and helping the world Stand Tall, one patient at a time. Since inception, FOCOS has treated over 85,000 patients and performed more than 3,800 complex surgeries on patients from over 75 countries, and 577 volunteer doctors and medical professionals from over 10 countries.

Event Details

The purpose of 2023 FOCOS Gala is to support the mission in providing access to high quality, affordable and specialized orthopedic care to those, primarily in Ghana and the broader African region, who would not otherwise have access to such treatment. This event will mark our first official in-person gala since the pandemic in 2020.

The highlight of this event is to celebrate 25 years of providing state-of-the-art orthopedic care and education and helping the world Stand Tall, one patient at a time. Since inception, FOCOS has treated over 85,000 patients and performed more than 3,800 complex surgeries on patients from over 75 countries, and 577 volunteer doctors and medical professionals from over 10 countries.

Start: September 22, 2023 6:00 pm

End: September 22, 2023 11:00 pm

We are back in person this year!!

For check or money order, please make payable to FOCOS and mail to:
377 Oak Street, Suite 407, Garden City, NY 11530
For questions or to arrange alternate payment, please contact us at: info@focosus.org

FOCOS Thanks Our Generous Sponsors

  • Michele and Martin Cohen
  • Starvos Niarchos Foundation (SNF)
  • 33 Spine Align
  • Crane
  • Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS)
  • Duke Hand Society
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Charlene & Keith Goggin
  • Broadridge
  • Major Family Foundation






2023 FOCOS Gala: Dedicated to Hope Healing and Recovery

6:00PM – 7:00PM
Cocktail Reception
7:00PM – 9:30PM
Drum Performance by Wula Drum
Video to Introduce Emcee’s Dara Kennedy and Touré
Opening Remarks | Dara Kennedy and Touré
Remarks by Hospital of Special Sugery (HSS) | Dr. Bryan Kelly
Remarks by Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) | Roula and Ange
Remarks by 33 Spine Align | Ryan Normandeau
Auction Appeal / Sponsor a Patient
Dance Performance by Issa
Remarks by FOCOS Chair | Kwadwo Boachie-Adjei
Remarks by FOCOS Founder | Prof. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, MD
Patient Success Stories
Remarks by Dr. Rick Hodes & Video of Ethiopian Patients
Remarks by Issa & Eyob
Patient Success Stories Video
Remarks by Young Leaders of FOCOS (YLF) Founders | Akilah King & Grace Steiber
Greg Banks Video
Dara Kennedy and Touré Interview with Greg Banks
Performance by Greg Banks
Closing Remarks |Emcee’s Dara Kennedy and Touré
9:30PM- 11PM
After Party Reception


Dara Kennedy

Dara Kennedy is an on-air journalist, speaker, and ally for diversity. With a global broadcasting career that spans more than 50 countries across five continents, she has honed her expertise and showcased remarkable versatility in her field, business, and community for both professional and personal pursuits.

Her groundbreaking journey from hosting the primetime show NFL on Sky at London-based Sky Sports, where she was the first African-American and American woman in that role, to formative experiences at CNN International and ESPN, set the stage for her trajectory.

As an anchor, correspondent, and host, she has covered worldwide stories including Brexit, the US-Africa Leaders Summit, social and political unrest, post-George Floyd turmoil, indictments of Donald Trump, nearly every major sporting championship, and attended both inaugurations of President Barack Obama. Significantly, Dara has been part of Emmy-winning productions, adding to her impactful career.

Her education includes post-graduate joint program certificates in international finance and trade from prestigious institutions London School of Economics and Peking University in Beijing, China, enriching her global business understanding.
Currently a News Anchor at WINS-AM and WCBS-AM, Dara navigates complex news for one of the world’s most demanding audiences on the nation’s most listened-to news station.

Beyond media, Dara showcases thought leadership through diverse speaking engagements including Morgan Stanley, Imperial College of London, and the NBA. Her involvement with initiatives like Nelson Mandela:100, founding an SDOH non-profit, and co-founding the Sports Finance Summit, highlights her multifaceted dedication as a speaker, mentor, and businesswoman.

Dara’s recognition as “Best International Journalist,” one of the “100 Phenomenal Women of Color,” and being featured in Forbes as one of the “Generation’s Next Leaders and Entrepreneurs,” underscores her unwavering commitment to meaningful endeavors and growth-building. Residing in New York City, her impactful journey continues.


Touré is a host and Creative Director at TheGrio. He is a TV host, podcaster, and the author of eight books including The Ivy League Counterfeiter and the Prince oral history Nothing Compares 2 U. He is the host and writer of the podcast docuseries “Being Black: the 80s.” He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the creator and host of “Who Was Prince?” a podcast docuseries exploring the life of Prince. He was the co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle and a host at MTV and BET and a correspondent at CNN as well as a writer for Rolling Stone, the New York Times, The New Yorker, and many other publications. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two kids. 


Prof. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, MD

Nana Prof. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei Woahene II is the President and Founder of the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS). Nana Prof immigrated to the United States in 1972 and completed undergraduate studies at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York where he received a Bachelor of Science (summa cum laude-Chemistry) in 1976. He received his Doctor of Medicine Degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1980 and completed an Orthopaedic surgery residency at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. In 1986, he was a John H. Moe fellow in spine deformity at the Twin Cities Scoliosis Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Nana Prof. Boachie-Adjei is an Emeritus Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and Chief emeritus of the Scoliosis Service at Hospital for Special Surgery, HSS and an Emeritus Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon at both HSS and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

The coveted Russell Hibbs Award for Best Clinical Research Paper was awarded to him in 1989, 2002 & 2013 by the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS); the SRS also awarded him the Louis Goldstein Award for Best Clinical Poster in 1999 and 2002

He was presented with the Philip D. Wilson Award for Outstanding Teacher in 1998 by Hospital for Special Surgery, the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2003 by Brooklyn College, the Humanitarian Award in 2004 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the Albert Schweitzer Science & Peace Gold Medal in 2005 and the Walter P. Blount Service Award in 2006 by the SRS and was featured in the Discovery channel documentary entitled, “Surgery Saved My Life.” He was elected President of the Scoliosis Research Society for the year 2008-2009 and in June 2013; Prof. Boachie-Adjei received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Hospital for Special Surgery. In 2015, He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by his Alma Mata, Brooklyn College and was featured on CNN’s African Voices documentary as the Ghanaian Doctor transforming Spine Surgery in 2016; the University of Toledo, Ohio inducted him into their Global Medical Mission Hall of Fame. In 2016, he was awarded by the Philanthropy Forum Ghana; the individual philanthropist of the year (Special Needs). In 2017-2022 alone, he won twelve more national and international awards.

Prof. Boachie-Adjei has published and lectured extensively on spine surgery, with special emphasis on surgery to correct complex spine deformity. He is also an inventor who holds several patents for devices used in spine surgery.

Nana Prof was enstooled as Otumfuo Hiahene on the 19th November 2020 at the Manhyia palace Kumasi, Ghana. He is the current board chairman of the Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II foundation.

Kwadwo Boachie-Adjei | FOCOS Chair

Kwadwo Boachie-Adjei, a multifaceted leader, is not only the Founder of Kumbi Cocoa but also a seasoned consultant and project developer with a remarkable career spanning over two decades. He has dedicated his expertise to assisting entrepreneurs, corporations, and nonprofits in navigating the complex landscape of Ghana and the broader West African region, facilitating their establishment and growth.

As a dedicated social entrepreneur, Kwadwo Boachie-Adjei is fervently committed to advancing business initiatives in Africa, with a primary focus on critical sectors such as health, water, agriculture, and renewable energy. His passion for sustainable development is evident through his eight years of hands-on experience as a grower and exporter of cocoa, cashews, and various other agro-commodities, forging valuable partnerships with multinational companies along the way.

His academic journey reflects his unwavering commitment to excellence. Kwadwo completed his graduate studies in Epidemiology and International Health at The Harvard School of Public Health, a testament to his dedication to the advancement of public welfare. Additionally, he holds a BS in Biology with a minor in Economics from Syracuse University, a foundation that underpins his versatile approach to business and development.

In every facet of his career, Kwadwo Boachie-Adjei continues to make significant strides, leaving an enduring impact on the fields of entrepreneurship, development, and social enterprise.

Name – Kwadwo Boachie-Adjei

DOB – January 12, 1976

Family – 1 son & 1 daughter (Eythan 15 years old, Keziah 4 years old)

Education – Syracuse University (B.S.) Harvard School of Public Health (CPH),

Profession – Epidemiologist

Marital Status – Single

FOCOS connection – Son of Founder Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Working as a volunteer with FOCOS since 1998, Former Director of Research-Department of Physiatry at The Hospital for Special Surgery

Future Aspiration for FOCOS as board member – To continue to grow FOCOS and keep it sustainable for years to come

Kwadwo Boachie-Adjei


kboachie@gmail.com / kboachie@focosus.org

Skype – KWADBA

3300 Roswell Road NW

Unit 5418

Atlanta, GA 30305


Issa developed TV of the spine when he was a baby living  with his family in a remote village in Sierra Leone.  This is where Tom Johnson, the founder  of Africa Surgery,  found him and  sponsored him, to travel to Ghana in order to undergo spinal surgery when he was  only three years old.   As most of Focos patients,  Issa raveled alone to a different country to undergo this very painful surgery. Despite his difficult situation, Issa was the king of the hospital . He was  an upbeat and happy toddler that loved every one and was loved by the entire staff and  patients.

The Loen family became acquainted with Focos because their daughter Camila had also undergone spinal surgery at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles where they met Phyllis D’Ambra who spoke to them about the incredible work that Focos hospital was doing. The Leons hosted a fundraiser at their restaurant in Los Angeles where they met Dr. Boachie and the amazing Bettye White who extended an invitation to visit the hospital in Ghana.

In the summer of 2014, Margarita and Camila traveled to Ghana to see firsthand the incredible work being done at Focos. It was then that they met and fell in love with baby Issa, who had already undergone surgery. but due to the outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone, it was impossible for him and the other Sierra Leonean patients to return home.

Margarita and Camila spent about two weeks volunteering with the children at the hospital, growing closer to its littlest patient. During that time, the children were allowed to call their families on Saturdays. After Margarita and Camila returned home,  Issa would go into Auntie Bettye’s office and call them every Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m., Los Angeles time.

In 2015, Issa eventually was able to return to Sierra Leone, and Margarita and Camila went to visit him there. They met with Issa’s parents, who expressed their desire for Issa to have a better life by coming to the United States. The only way to accomplish this goal was through adoption.

Issa, along with his brother Abu, came to Los Angeles in July of 2017. They are remarkable boys and are thriving, excelling at whatever they do. Last year they were finally able to return to Sierra Leone where they reconnected with their families and their culture.

Issa is a 7th grader at the Debbie Allen Middle School, where he’s not only dedicated to his academics but also diligently refining his dancing skills. His discipline and dedication is bringing him closer to realize his dream of  becoming  a dancer, actor, and rapper.

Each day, they inject the Leon family with fresh adventures and joy.

Dr. Bryan Kelly | Hospital of Special Sugery (HSS)

Dr. Bryan T. Kelly is a specialist in sports medicine injuries and arthroscopic and open surgical management of non-arthritic disorders around the hip. He is the President, Surgeon-in-Chief and Medical Director of the Hospital for Special Surgery and former Chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service. He has faculty appointments at New York Presbyterian’s Weill Cornell Medical College as well as the Hospital for Special Surgery. He cares for several sports teams serving as Head Team Physician for the New York Rangers an Associate Team Physician for the New York Giants, Head Orthopaedic Consultant for UFC, and several collegiate teams in the tri-state region.

After the completion of his residency at HSS in 2001, Dr. Kelly completed a two-year fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery, specializing in Sports Medicine and Shoulder Surgery. Dr. Kelly then completed a fellowship in Hip Sports Injuries and Arthroscopy at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Center for Sports Medicine, under the direction of Dr. Marc J. Philippon, MD. Prior to starting his practice he also completed an AO International Traveling Fellowship where he spent time with Dr. Herbert Resch at the Landeskliniken Hospital in Salzburg, Austria. He has also spent time with Professor Reinhold Ganz and Dr. Michael Leunig in Bern and Zurich, Switzerland studying advanced techniques in open surgical management of hip injury and deformity through an AO Surgical Preceptorship.

Dr. Kelly currently serves as Surgeon-in-Chief and Medical Director and Attending Physician on the Sports Medicine Service as well as Co-Director for the Center for Hip Preservation at the Hospital for Special Surgery which is designed to provide multi-disciplinary care for patients at all levels with hip injuries. He has a broad range of both clinical and basic science research interests including the development of a clinical outcomes registry; biomechanical studies evaluating conflict patterns in femoroacetabular impingement and techniques in labral refixation; development of synthetic scaffolds for labral reconstruction and cartilage injuries in the hip; and the development of novel surgical techniques for managing soft tissue injuries around the hip joint. He has authored over 200 scientific publications, chapters, review articles, and books.

Roula and Ange | Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)

Ange Munyakazi and Roula Siklas are members of the Programs team at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), and in that capacity work with a range of wonderful grantee partners making an impact around the world, partners like FOCOS. SNF’s collaboration with FOCOS stretches back more than 15 years, and Roula has had the pleasure of working with FOCOS and Dr. Boachie-Adjei from the very beginning of that relationship. Ange, who got involved more recently, has been proud to see FOCOS reach major new milestones in its tireless effort to deliver critical care to underserved communities. Increasing access to essential health services is a major focus of SNF’s grantmaking work, notably through the Foundation’s ongoing Global Health Initiative (GHI). The GHI includes the construction of three state-of-the-art hospitals in Greece and a range of other projects worldwide, from an effort to expand access to mental health care for young people, to specialized training for health care professionals, to partnerships seeking to tackle childhood cancer and global infectious diseases, and far beyond. Encompassing grants not only in the program area of Health & Sports, but also across the fields of Arts & Culture, Education, and Social Welfare, SNF’s mission is broad by design and has guided more than 5,300 grants to nonprofit organizations in over 130 countries. The goal, in each of these areas, is to make lasting positive impact whose benefits are shared widely and help unlock the incredible potential each human life holds. This is what Ange and Roula, as well SNF’s leadership and advisors, have seen FOCOS achieve, and they, on behalf of the whole SNF team, are honored to help celebrate FOCOS’s work.

Ryan Normandeau | 33 Spine Align

Ryan Normandeau graduated from Salisbury University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 2008 with degrees in Biology and Environmental Marine Science respectively. He was a member of 3 national championship lacrosse teams through his collegiate career. Ryan currently holds the position as Distributor Relations Manager at Medtronic Spine and Biologics and is the founder of the nonprofit group 33 Spine Align. Ryan has made it his focus to bring the appropriate medical professionals, support care, and training to aid patients with spinal deformity in Africa. With his background in spinal device sales in the US, he developed a large network of spinal surgeons and paired that with his passion to help the less fortunate. 33 Spine Align was born from that passion. He and Dr. Rory Goodwin, met at the Johns Hopkins cafeteria in 2015 to start conceptualizing what you see here today. Far from a finished product, we are extremely happy with the progress we have made thus far and are thankful for the support from FOCOS.

Although Ryan has had tremendous success professionally, his real passion lies in his family. Ryan, his wife (and pediatric spine surgeon) Dr. Kelley Banagan M.D., reside in Albany, New York with their four children Elle, Burke, Greer and Laine. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys skiing, coaching his kids’ sports teams, reading, cooking, traveling and the New York Jets.

Dr. Rick Hodes

Dr. Rick Hodes is JDC’s Medical Director in Ethiopia. Initially arriving in 1984 to help famine victims, he returned in 1985 to teach at Addis Ababa University Faculty of Medicine, and has worked for JDC since 1990.

Dr. Hodes is a graduate of Middlebury College, the University of Rochester Medical School and trained in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview. He was a Fulbright Lecturer in Medicine at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and has 5 honorary doctorates.

Dr. Hodes was in charge of the health care of all Ethiopian immigrants to Israel from late 1990 until 2016, about 1% of the Israeli population. He participated in Operation Solomon, the historic airlift of over 14,000 Ethiopians to Israel in 36 hours.

Today, Dr. Hodes directs JDC’s non-sectarian medical programs, concentrating on spinal deformities and rheumatic and congenital heart disease. He also sees patients at the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s Mission). Dr. Hodes raises funds to send heart patients to India for surgery, and spine patients to Ghana and India for traction and surgery and is involved with training Ethiopian physicians and surgeons. He has a large network of physicians worldwide he consults. A colleague observed “Rick has the largest collection of the worst spines in the world.”

During more than 30 years with JDC, Dr. Hodes has also worked with refugees and victims of famine, war, and disease outbreaks in Ethiopia, Albania, Rwanda, Zaire (Congo), Tanzania, Albania, and Somalia.Dr. Hodes was inducted into the Medical Mission Hall of Fame in 2006, and the following year was selected as a CNN Hero. In 2008, the American College of Physicians awarded him the title of “Mastership,” in recognition of “exceedingly stellar career accomplishments” as well as the Rosenthal Award for creative practice of medicine. He was ABC’s “Person of the Week” in 2010. He is the subject of the book “This is a Soul”, by Marilyn Berger, as well as the Sue Cohn Rockefeller documentary, Making the Crooked Straight, Sam Shnider’s documentary, Bewoket, and Melissa Donovan’s film Zemene. He lives in Addis Ababa with his Ethiopian family.

Greg Banks

Greg Banks is an independent artist hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana, currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. He has made a name for himself as a versatile troubadour, blending elements of Funk, Rock, and Alt R&B in his music. His music ranges from solo acoustic performances to orchestral arrangements, with a healthy dose of funk. With four EPs and a series of singles under his belt, he has established himself as a long-term musician and rising star in the industry.

After writing and performing songs in New York City subways, Greg Banks has established himself as a fixture on the music scene with unprecedented simultaneous residencies at prestigious hotels including The Virgin, Hard Rock, and The Seville.

His impressive resume includes live performances at iconic stadiums MetLife and Citi Field, where he played to massive audiences of 20,000 fans, and renowned venues the Apollo Theatre in Harlem and the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood. He also headlined a concert for the Essence Music Festival, proving his ability to captivate diverse crowds. Greg Banks even had an hour-long special on Sirius/XM’s “Heart & Soul” channel and has also graced the lineup at the Cannes Film Festival in France, expanding his international reach.

His current single, “Supernatural,” is a funky anthem that reflects his personal journey in the music industry. He soon plans to release his 5th EP “The Journey,” which promises to be a genre-bending masterpiece. Greg Banks hints that his anticipated breakthrough album will be mostly focused on capturing individual moments, and less on conceptual storytelling.

Beyond music, Greg Banks is involved in philanthropy as an ambassador for “Save The Music.” Through this partnership, he mentors and inspires young individuals to pick up musical instruments and learn music, creating positive change in their communities through the power of music.

Akilah King | Young Leaders of FOCOS (YLF)

Akilah is the CEO of Room to Grow, a nonprofit that provides parenting coaching, material support, and service referrals to families with children ages zero to three living in low-income circumstances. With a deep desire to achieve health equity for all, she began her career in research at the private practice of Prof. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei at the Hospital for Special Surgery. While in this role, Akilah had the opportunity to participate in many FOCOS mission trips, which served as the impetus for co-founding the Young Leaders of FOCOS (YLF) in 2009. Akilah holds a Master’s in Public Health from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a BA from Brown University. She currently serves as a member of Brown University President’s Advisory Council on Athletics and Operation: Heal Our Heroes’ Executive Board and was recently featured on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Katy Tur Reports.