Influential Jamaicans in Atlanta: Dr. B. Waine Kong

As CEO of the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC), Dr. B. Waine Kong has been at the forefront of efforts to reduce the ravages of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. In the twenty one years since Dr. Kong became its CEO, ABC has become an international organization representing over 600 members; staff of 25; and a host of volunteers who actively advocate for culturally competent health care, increased representation of minorities in the health professions, and availability of appropriate health care and medication for all citizens.

Basil Waine Kong was born in “Kingston Jubilee Hospital” in Kingston and moved to the tiny community of Woodlands, in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. After living in St. Elizabeth for ten years, where he excelled in track, Boy’s Brigade and cricket, he left Jamaica at the age of 14 to join his mother and stepfather in Morristown, New Jersey.

Dr. Kong received his B.A. from Simpson College (1967), an M.A. from American University (1970), his AGS in educational psychology (1974) from the University of Maryland, and his Ph.D. from Walden University (1977). Twenty years later, he returned to Dickinson School of Law, received his J.D. and became a member of the Georgia bar.
Beginning his career as a probation officer in Montgomery County, Maryland, Dr. Kong became an assistant professor of human development, counseling and criminology, then associate dean of students at the University of the District of Columbia. Before joining ABC in 1986, he served as director of research and grants at Providence Hospital, and executive director of the Urban Cardiology Research Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Kong partnered with Dr. Elijah Saunders, who was then chief of cardiology at Providence Hospital as well as president of the Association of Black Cardiologists, to conduct the first clinical trials for African Americans relating to the efficacy, sexual side effects and quality of life of various treatments for high blood pressure. With a grant from the American Heart Association in 1978, Drs. Kong and Saunders developed language describing the early warning signs of heart attack that was later adopted by the AHA. When they learned that less than 5 percent of Baltimore residents knew about CPR, they directed the training of 10,000 Baltimore residents in cardiopulmonary resuscitation between 1978-79. Drs. Kong and Saunders also authored the Vital Signs Quality of Life questionnaire that was used in several clinical trials.

Dr. Kong said he is most proud of pioneering the organization of churches and barbershops as health promotion centers with a grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, programs that were adopted.
He has traveled to over one hundred countries where he always seems to run into Jamaicans.

Dr. Kong is married to Dr. Stephanie Kong, a pediatrician and managed care executive. They have four children and three grandchildren. Dr. Kong’s hobbies include golf, tennis, duplicate bridge,
bid-whist and international travel. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha and a deacon at Providence Missionary Baptist Church.