“An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” goes the saying and this best describes Dr Beverley Cheserem, a consultant neurosurgeon at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya. Dr Cheserem is born to two highly educated parents: her late father was a civil engineer at the National Irrigation Board involved in irrigation systems while her mother is a well-known gynaecologist and a lecturer at the University of Nairobi.
“Having two parents who were in the science field, I was a bit of a geeky child. I didn’t even know what fingers were called; I used to call them phalanges because I used to read my mother’s books. I also read a lot of geology and physics. I settled on medicine because I was fascinated by human biology,” Dr Cheserem told one of the local media outlets.
Dr Beverley Cheserem top neurosurgeon
She is one of the only four women neurosurgeons in Kenya which has a total of 37 neurosurgeons. Her main interest is in skull base surgery and pituitary; both microsurgical and endoscopic techniques. Her other interests include global health, teaching and clinical research.
Dr Cheserem family had lived in Nakuru and Kisumu before she travelled to the United States. She grew up an inquisitive child, constantly questioning just about everything around her. She attended Our Lady of Mercy Primary located in South B and later joined Precious Blood Riruta. She successfully completed her A Levels and went on to join the University of Southampton to study medicine.
Climbing the academic ladder
In 2008 Dr Cheserem was employed at the University Hospital Wales as a surgical trainee in neurosurgery, cardiothoracics, and liver surgery. After one year she went to London Deanery in Brighton, United Kingdom as a neurosurgical trainee, a post she held for a solid eight years. She later moved to Cardiff as a locum consultant neurosurgeon for five months at Brighton and Sussex University Hospital. In 2015, she attained a neurosurgery Masters’ degree from England’s Royal College of Surgeons.
In August 2017, Dr Cheserem went back to the University Hospital Wales as a Skullbase fellow holding the position for two years. In addition, she has completed numerous rotations and travelled as a fellow at Italy’s Bellaria Hospital, France’s Lariboisiere Hospital, and UPMC in the States. In October 2019 she moved back to Africa and went to Tanzania to join the Weill Cornell- Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute as a Global Neurosurgery Fellow for one year.
Local and global accolades
She holds various local and international positions including:
• Co-chair, Education Committee, Young African Neurosurgeons Forum
• International Advisory Board Member for the Women in Neurosurgery Asian Congress, Neurosurgical Surgeons
• Young Neurosurgeons Forum, World Federation of Neurological Societies Gender and Research Sub-Committee
- Chair of the Kenya Association of Women Surgeons from 2021 to 2023
- Vice-Chair of the Surgical Society of Kenya’s Scientific Committee from 2021 to 2023
- Vice-Chair of the Surgical Society of Kenya’s Global Surgery Committee from 2021 to 2023
- She is also a member of the United Kingdom’s Association of Medical Educators, the Society of British Neurosurgeons, British Association of Surgical Oncology, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Kenya Medical Association, and a fellow of England’s Royal College of Surgeons.
Dr Cheserem success has inspired many young and aspirant female students on the continent not only to follow in her footsteps but to also ensure they academically soar to greater heights.