#GameChangers Saluting Dr. Betty Gikonyo: Kenya’s First Female Cardiologist

by Duchess Magazine
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#GameChangers Saluting Dr. Betty Gikonyo: Kenya's First Female Cardiologist

Proudly taking her place amongst inspiring pioneering women across the world shattering barriers and challenging status quo is Dr. Betty Muthoni Gikonyo, Co-founder and the Chief Executive Officer Karen Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya, founded in 2006 alongside college sweetheart turned hubby Dr. Dan Gikonyo.

An expert in the medical field who sits comfortably amongst the country’s best known healthcare professionals, Dr. Betty Muthoni Gikonyo a Renowned Kenyan paediatric cardiologist and medical entrepreneur boasts of over 45 years’ experience.

Her amazing work has been featured on CNN’s African Voices and the BBC’s Africa Business Report.

Humble beginnings:

Born 27 May 1950 in the village of Kiamabara near Karatina town in Nyeri County, her determination, positive outlook and hard work paved way for a brighter future, owing to her brilliance she managed to attend the prestigious Alliance Girls High School, reputed for admitting only the best students.

Right from an early age she already found passion and had her eyes set on medicine when her mother was diagnosed with cancer, when Gikonyo was 14 years old, her biggest inspiration to pursue a medical career however came from her elder brother, Dr Wallace Kahugu, because her mother spoke highly of him. Gikonyo acquired a Bachelor’s degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Nairobi, a Master’s in pediatric cardiology from the same university and a post doctoral fellowship in pediatric cardiology from the University of Minnesota in the USA.

Dreams to reality; Dr. Gikonyo established herself as one of the first few women inpost-independence Kenya to study medicine. Today she is a pacesetter who is uplifting other women with ber. As a pediatric cardiology specialist, she treats children born with heart defects, delving into charity work, Gikonyo co-founded the Heart to Heart foundation, an organisation (1993) which organises free treatment for underprivileged children.

she (together with her husband) pioneered the Heart Runs, annual charity events today known as the Karen Hospital Heart Run (or the Heart to Heart Foundation Run) and the Mater Heart Run. The Mater Heart Run attracted an estimated 60,000 participants in 2015

Both an interventional and non-invasive paediatric cardiologist, Dr. Betty is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Paediatric Cardiology, University of Minnesota, USA and has a Masters of Medicine in Paediatrics, (University of Nairobi), Kenya, Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (University of Nairobi) and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine from the same university.

Dr. Betty Gikonyo is also professional member of the Kenya Medical Association, Kenya Cardiac Society, Kenya Paediatric Association, Kenya Medical Women Association, Founding chair and member of University of Nairobi Alumni Association.
She was also the Chairperson of Nairobi Health Management Board, a position she held for 7 years and a member of the University Council for 14 years which saw her rise to the role of deputy chair of the University of Nairobi Council.

Dr. Betty Gikonyo has most deservedly being honoured with notable awards such as
Silver Star (SS) Presidential Award in 1998, Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) Presidential Award in 2008 CEO Global Limited East Africa Regional Awards – Most influential Woman (Medical category).

She is member:
Kenya Medical Association
Kenya Cardiac Society
Kenya Pediatric Association
Kenya Medical Women Association.
Chairperson of Nairobi Health Management Board
Chair of the University of Nairobi Alumni Association

Dr. Gikonyo has also published her autobiography, aptly titled TheGirlwhoDaredtoDream

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