K. Darko

Name: K. Darko


Specialist Program in Human Biology (Hons); BSc

Masters in Tumor Biology (Biomedicine); MSc

Medical Doctorate; MD

Internal Medicine Residency Program; FRCPC


Physician (Internal Medicine Specialist) 

Years of Experience: One

When you were a child, did you envision becoming what you are now?

My career interests have definitely evolved since childhood. I have entertained an array of professions during the course of my life. From age 6 to 10, I was fully convinced that I was going to be the next World’s Pele. Soccer was my passion and an obsession. Even though I believed that I was skillful and agile on the field, I learnt quickly that I was not built for it, as playing with the bigger and stronger boys rendered me close to being concussed too many times. At one point during my teenage years, I wanted to be a teacher. Fast forward to early university days; I was set on pursuing a career in the field of biomedical sciences. The inspiration was born out of my volunteer work at hospitals. Hence, I elected for a program in the sciences at the university. One thing led to another and I ended up as a physician.

Let’s just say that initially I was really not focused and did not have a clear sense of direction. I dabbled in many different things. The journey, as convoluted as it was, was crucial in molding me into what I am today. As a matter of fact, it was priceless.

Can you please tell us about your journey? When did you first think to yourself, “I made it”?

As previously mentioned, my journey was anything but straightforward. I will cut to the chase here and spare you details. Essentially, after my bachelors degree was completed, I learned that it did not afford me a profession. I was practically jobless for close to a year after graduating. A specialist program in human biology sounded fancy, yet it did not qualify me for any particular profession in the biomedical sciences. I therefore pursued a research focused masters degree in Sweden with the goal of becoming a medical researcher in cancer. It was great learning experience during my time in Sweden. I networked extensively and really sat at the feet of some of the world’s renowned scientists. They inspired and really drew out the best in me. Through networking, I was introduced to a European university where my basic medical training began. After my four years of medical training, I secured a job at a family doctor’s office for year, where I sharpened my medical skills/acumen and allowed myself to be mentored. Exactly after one year, I began internal medicine specialty training in Northern Ontario. Fours later, I would start independent practice as a specialist physician. 

Goals are moving targets. I do not believe that I can explicitly say that “I have arrived”. I continue to strive to be better everyday. That being said, I am fully content about my current situation. God’s been beyond gracious to me. I wouldn’t change anything at the moment. 

Did you face any challenges on your journey to get to where you are? Do you currently face any challenges?

Yes definitely. No journey is without obstacles and challenges. For me, the biggest challenge I faced was having to figure out a lot by myself. Earlier in my journey, I really did not have anyone, say a mentor to help me navigate the complexities and intricate path to medicine. Consequently, I lost many years figuring things out by myself. By the time such mentors came into my life, I had already learned the hard way about a few things. 

It was a long, laboured and lonely journey. I would like to emphasize the word lonely. I had never felt lonelier, yet I had great support from family. This was probably the toughest part of my journey.

Every stage in life presents its own challenges. Medicine is an extremely dynamic field. One needs to really keep up with the literature, research and guidelines. Currently, balancing that, work itself, social life and family can be challenging.

What skills do you believe a person needs to succeed in your profession?

I believe to succeed, one needs to already see themselves where they wish to be. The embodiment of the prospect becomes a solid bulwark that will help you stand against naysayers (especially your own voice); for they will come in drones. 

Hard-work and tenacity must be part of ones pedigree. And it goes without saying that one must be willing to stay humble, be a good student of the trade in order to earn stripes. 

What advice would you give to others who aspire to be where you are?

As cliché as it might sound, you need to believe in your vision and protect your vision at all cost. A vision board, short term goals which line up, commensurate or eventually lead to your ultimate goal are imperative to have. 

As a person of faith, I believe that consistent prayer and including God in your plans are a must. God was certainly a key part of my journey from beginning till end. Truthfully, it was not all by might. Your efforts can only get you so far. Sometimes, you need the universe to align with your plans and I believe one can use divine intervention during such times. 

Can you please share one goal you achieved that you are extremely proud of?

Innately, I am an introvert. I think it hindered my progress greatly at certain points. I had to really work on myself to break out of my shell. I started by fully accepting myself, living unapologetically and shifting focus from myself to others. I want to believe that this process has helped me to be more empathetic, better understanding of people and more confident in myself. It’s a personal goal I have accomplished that I am extremely proud of. 

Thank you.