A Local Cardiologist Shares His Journey to The Friendly City

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – It’s a common understanding that lessons are learned through life experiences.

That experience may be the driving force for someone to make a difference.

For one man new to Columbus and to the South for that matter, the story of his life journey and his medical practice follows the heart.

For Dr. Julius Kato, his story is a true testament to the success that comes from hard work and patience.

It’s taken him years to find himself in the position he’s in today, and he was happy to share how he got here.

Kato is not a native to the United States.

He was born in the country of Uganda.

His earliest memories are the hard life for his family when Ugandan Dictator Idi Amin toppled the previous government.

“His main goal was to Islamize the whole country,” said Kato. “With that, he started killing all of the educated people. He started killing all of the opposition party, and that whole process started making the country change from a country that was more education based to a country where people were just aspiring to be soldiers.”

Kato’s father was a business owner that was a part of the previous government, and under the Amin administration, that was a problem.

“The government started going after people who had their own companies, and with that process going on the soldiers came to our house, trying to exterminate our family,” said Kato.

Kato said by being patient and having faith in God, in 1974 he made it across the Ugandan border into Kenya, but it didn’t get easier.

Kato struggled to make ends meet while he was living as a a refugee.

“You know, food for me was really very scarce and far in between,” Kato described. “I would go in the city and just walk in there so I could smell the food, the aroma of the food, because smelling it to me made me feel like I ate the food.”

Once he was taken in by the church, Kato started working towards what everyone says he was the best at, school.

“I was hungry for education, so anyone that came my way during class I made sure that they did not beat me because I was very competitive. I just wanted to make sure I got a good education,” said Kato.

That hunger for an education brought him to the U.S. where he was able to attend college at Youngstown State in Ohio.

He chose to go into the medical profession, all because of his childhood in Uganda.

Going back to the beginning of school with the inspiration to go into medicine, that was partially because of your mother, correct?

“That is correct. I’m glad you brought that up,” said Kato. When I was young, just like young kids, everybody is five years old, my mother always said ‘You’re going to be a doctor.’ I said I don’t think so… Science was very intriguing. You know, when I was going to class, we were dissecting frogs and looking at fish. These things seemed to impress me, and it seemed like when I was going to school, the grades I was going the highest… I did very well in everything, but it seemed like science seemed to satisfy my desire, and gradually, even though I told my mother I wasn’t doing it, it seems like she was right.”

After years of study and school at Youngstown State, Western Michigan, and Michigan State, he’s achieved multiple degrees in cardiology, and feels driven to improve the lives of his patients.

“The desire to improve quality of life and not having that suffering that I had gone through has been the driving force to where I love human beings and I love to take care of them,” said Kato.

That desire is being put to use here in the Friendly City of Columbus, where he feels he can make the most difference with his talents.

“I’m getting busy, which is what I want. I like being busy. I can see and empathize with their suffering, and I can understand where they’re coming from. I want to give them the best I have because I know the suffering that I went through, I don’t want anyone else to go through it,” said Kato.

This inspiring journey that currently has Dr. Kato in Columbus, and we’re happy to have him.

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