Kamau Bandele Kokayi, MD
Kamau Kokayi, MD received his medical doctorate from Yale Medical School, and then completed his residency with board certification in Family Medicine. He is additionally certified in acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, applied kinesiology, and homeopathy. With 25 years’ experience in integrating allopathic science with bioenergetic therapies and traditional healing systems, Dr. Kokayi’s broad knowledge base and depth of understanding provide him a multilayered lens through which to evaluate and treat patients suffering in body, mind, and spirit.
As an integrative medical physician at Patients Medical in New York, Dr. Kokayi individualizes his protocols to the patient’s needs, weaving the warp of Western medicine with the weft of Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, and African healing arts. Drawing from a diverse tool kit featuring clinical nutrition, detoxification, chelation, intravenous therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, craniosacral therapy, phytotherapy, and other modalities allows for successful management and treatment of such challenging and refractory conditions as chronic pain, chemical dependency, chronic fatigue, musculoskeletal dysfunction, obesity, chronic respiratory illness, complex allergies, gastrointestinal imbalance, emotional imbalance, environmental exposures, and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Dr. Kamau Kokayi’s path to Patients Medical has been an illustrious one. During his undergraduate studies at Cornell University, Dr. Kokayi was distinguished as a College Scholar. Under the tutelage of a Nobel Prize laureate, Dr. Kokayi devised his own course of study and, upon graduating, received offers from Yale and Harvard medical schools, as well as a full scholarship to law school. His pursuits in medicine were accompanied by a growing interest in personal well-being, with conversion to a vegetarian lifestyle and self-dedication to mastery of the martial arts. Inspired to understand alternative approaches to health care, he embarked on a year’s leave of absence from Yale to enter into studies in homeopathy, Chinese medicine, and various spiritual disciplines. This divergence marked the first of many sojourns abroad to acquire skill and garner insight into alternative and traditional medicine in China, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean.
With the completion of his medical training Dr. Kokayi established a private practice with a focus on bringing health education and awareness to his patients and community. In combining the finest of Western allopathic medicine with key elements of indigenous medical practices from other cultures and disciplines, Dr. Kokayi offers us a unique integrative perspective on health and wellness, based on intimate study and expertise in multiple disciplines. In 2009, he joined the staff of Patients Medical, where he practices in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of health practitioners to heal patients with widely diverse origins and concerns.
Dr. Kamau Kokayi is adjunct assistant professor of family and community medicine at New York Medical College since 2008. He has served as clinical assistant professor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and as director of their acupuncture unit, specializing in substance abuse treatment, over a 16-year period. He is also the former medical director of the Respite Foundation, a nonprofit organization focusing on complementary and alternative medicine and its applications. A former chairman of the board of the nonprofit Ifetayo Cultural Arts Facility, Dr. Kokayi produced large-scale health fairs in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, and implemented health awareness seminars to meet the growing need for preventive health awareness and practices. He subsequently invited 70 colleagues to share their expertise in a hugely successful holistic health fair he sponsored in conjunction with Baruch College (CUNY) in 2005.
His visionary community leadership was further manifest while serving as medical director at the Olive Leaf Wholeness Center, where he orchestrated a multidisciplinary approach for the treatment of those exposed to Ground Zero. Over 150 police officers and firefighters were treated with successful outcomes, as documented in peer-reviewed scientific literature. He continues as the medical director of The Rescue Workers Project, a charity-based detox unit in lower Manhattan that has treated over 900 policemen and firemen for toxicity related to Ground Zero. In addition to the biochemical approach to detoxification, Dr. Kokayi uses applied kinesiology and manipulative techniques in his practice.
Since 2000, Dr. Kokayi has repeatedly traveled to the African continent, both to complete his award-winning documentary film Return and to serve as consultant for the United Methodist Church. Dr. Kokayi has assisted the church in efforts to incorporate traditional African medicine into the working body of health professionals in their African hospitals. Between his film and consulting work on traditional African medicine, Dr. Kokayi has visited nine African countries over the past 10 years.
Through his work in Africa, Dr. Kokayi has facilitated dialogue between traditional healers and allopathic medical institutions, assisted in funding a traditional African medical summit on HIV in South Africa in 2002, organized a conference between traditional healers and hospital staff in Mozambique in 2003, and brought a traditional healer from South Africa to Ghana to speak at a convention of the U.S.-based Association of Black Psychologists.
In July of 2005, Dr. Kamau Kokayi gave a major address on his work at an international summit on traditional African medicine in Washington, DC, sponsored by Georgetown University and Procultura, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of traditional health systems. Dr. Kokayi is in the final stages of preparing his film for commercial venues and has featured the film at various film festivals, where it has won best-film awards.
Dr. Kokayi is also the creator and host of listener-support Pacifica Radio’s weekly Global Medicine Review, airing Wednesdays at noon on WBAI 99.5 FM. Focusing on holistic approaches to health issues ranging from environmental toxicity and chronic disease to energetic and spiritual dimensions of healing, including the mind–body connection, his program features expert practitioners and individuals in the discipline under discussion.
Dr. Kokayi continues his journey through scholarship in an advanced immunology program sponsored by a research group at Oxford University, for which he travels to Europe for classes. He is furthermore the father of seven children and an active, contributing member of his community.