Griffs Under 40: Martina M. (Ossei-Anto) Ocrah '00

July 18, 2017

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Buffalo, NY - Martina Anto-Ocrah vividly remembers the young girl who sat next to her in elementary school in her native Ghana, West Africa.  She sold kerosene before school to make money for her family. Anto-Ocrah, who could smell the fuel on the girl’s clothing, came from a more privileged family. She vowed to use that opportunity to help others.

Now a third-year doctoral student in epidemiology at the University of Rochester, Anto-Ocrah conducts groundbreaking research that may impact patients in the United States and around the world.

Under the mentorship of Assistant Professor Jeff Bazarian, MD, Anto-Ocrah examines why women, compared to men, suffer more severe symptoms after head injuries and take longer to recover. She also found that emergency medicine providers tend to under-recognize concussions in women.

“When EMS is called, women are less likely to be transported to the appropriate care center and risk suffering a potentially life-threatening brain bleed,” Anto-Ocrah says. 

Anto-Ocrah presented her findings at the first Pink Concussion Conference:  International Summit on Female Concussions. Not only did she wow the audience but Anto-Ocrah received the Best Poster Award related to female concussions and traumatic brain injury.

Inspired by that success, Anto-Ocrah intends to pursue further research for under-represented populations.  She currently works with an interdisciplinary team of doctors in Northern Ghana to identify types, predictors and burden of injuries for patients seeking care at two local hospitals.  Anto-Ocrah hopes her work will ultimately improve patient care and awareness on a global scale.