Growing up in Ethiopia, UNC MRI Imaging Supervisor and Radiologic Science Clinical Instructor Issack Boru was age 6 when his father suffered a severe head injury. The local hospital lacked imaging technology for timely diagnosis of the associated internal bleeding, and Boru observed how delayed treatment caused his father significant struggles in the years after. As his family navigated multiple under-resourced hospitals for his father’s care, Boru saw how limited resources and provider training greatly challenge what any healthcare facility can provide in quality care.
Following his father’s death, Boru moved to the U.S. in 2007. He enrolled at UNC and graduated with a B.S. in Radiologic Science in 2014. Working first as an MRI technologist at Alamance Regional Medical Center, Boru returned to UNC in late 2014. His firsthand experience learning the role medical imaging plays in timely diagnosis and treatment of a critically wounded parent gave him tremendous conviction in serving his own patients and their families.
In 2018, Boru returned to his home country for the first time in 10 years. Working with RAD-AID, a non-profit that facilitates imaging training and radiology services to under-resourced nations, Boru trained technologists to use an MRI scanner in a capital city (Addis-Ababa) tertiary hospital. The experience was an emotional return for Boru, yet it also extended his medical mission work with RAD-AID over the prior four years in Malawi as a country report program manager.
In 2016, Boru established the $1,000 Endeshaw and Etagegnhu scholarship to honor his parents. Just as his work with RAD-AID has enabled him to travel and extend radiology services to under-resourced countries, he wants to provide funding for other radiologic science students with global health interests to pursue the same.
UNC Assistant Professor of Allied Health Sciences and RAD-AID Chief Operating Officer Melissa Culp notes of Boru:
“It has been a privilege to watch a student like Issack Boru grow to become my colleague and friend. He is professional and compassionate in his work with RAD-AID International, within the UNC community, and through his leadership of the [North Carolina Society of Radiologic Technologist, Inc]. Even though he has faced loss and witnessed disparity, Issack chooses to see the good in others and in the world—that is a gift from which we can all learn.”
In February 2019, both The Daily Tar Heel andfeatured Issack Boru’s story and UNC’s global health partnership with RAD-AID.