Professional Profile: Kyle Keojampa, MD

Professional Profile: Kyle Keojampa, MD

October 24th, 2009  |  Published in Profile

Name: Bounmany Kyle Keojampa

Place of Birth: Attapeu, Laos

Father from Vientiane, Mother from Pakse

Employer: Ear, Nose, Throat Consultants Inc.

Job Title: Surgeon

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Job Description: Specialty-Otolaryngology/Head & Neck
Surgery/Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

How did you end up working there?

After completing high school in Irving, TX, I left for California to attend Pepperdine University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine. I then attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch. During medical school, I knew that I wanted to be a surgeon. After graduation, I was accepted for surgical training at the Boston University/Boston Medical Center. I decided to stay in Boston afterwards and joined a private practice in the area affiliated with Boston Medical Center, Winchester Hospital and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

What do you love most about your job?

I really do love taking care of patients and performing surgery. You have the ability to make profound differences and improvements in your patient’s life. Surgery is technically challenging and human anatomy is fascinating.

What was your the first job you ever had?

I worked as a bagger for a grocery store.

What motivates you?

Like most Laotians, my family came to the US as refugees to seek asylum. I remind myself every day about the sacrifices my parents made and tribulations they went through to bring us here. They gave up everything when we fled to the US. Both of my parents were highly educated in Laos.  My father was a surgeon and my mother was a nurse. They had to start all over and worked hard to bring us out of poverty. Ironically, my father (the surgeon) worked as a butcher and my mother (the nurse) worked as a housekeeper to provide for our family when we first came from Laos. When I think about those things, it gives me motivation to take advantage of the opportunities given to me.

What else do you do with your time?

Before I went into medicine, I spent alot of time playing, producing and enjoying music. I worked for while as a DJ playing primarily electronic music and hip hop. I still have my turntables, guitars, keyboards, and mixing desk, although I haven’t had much time to play recently. I’m also looking forward to volunteering my time in Laos doing medical missions work.

What was it like for your family to come to the U.S.?

I was born in Attapeu, Laos in a “re-education” camp where my family was taken to after the communist party assumed control over Laos.  My mother and father were forced into hard labor for many years.  My story is probably similar to most other Laotian families as they attempted escape from Laos.  The movie The Betrayal – Nerakhoon similarly depicts the trials and tribulations that my family went through. Although my father was subjected to hard labor, he was also given more freedom as he was assigned  to provide medical and surgical care to the refugees and communists.  Through an elaborate scheme involving bribery and connections, my father organized our escape from the re-education camps, leaving Attapeu in the middle of the night.  We traveled across the Mekong river into Thailand by boat.  We were further detained in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines until we were granted asylum and immigration rights to the United States.  The first memory that I have of the whole experience is during of time I spent in the Thai refugee camps where my refugee picture was taken.  My family arrived in Houston, Texas with hope for a new future.   The Betrayal – Nerakhoon does an excellent job depicting the initial emotions and experiences of a Laotian family, being thrust into an urban American slum.  My father, mother, grandfather, myself and four brothers shared a small studio apartment.  We  didn’t stay in Houston long.  My father heard about a meat processing plant in Amarillo, Texas hiring butchers and packagers that required little English.  Our family packed up our belongings with other Laotian families and drove about 12 hours to Amarillo, a small Texas town in the middle of nowhere, where my parents both worked at the meat processing plant for many years.  My family became involved with the Amarillo Church of Christ, which offered a stipend for our family while my father attended divinity school. My father would eventually become a minister for the Church of Christ and we moved to Irving, Texas where my father has been the minister for the South MacArthur Church of Christ for the past 20 years.

Kyle Keojampa