heres the method I created in case it is useful to anyone else..

def convert_mime_encoded_word(mime_encoded_word)
  require 'iconv'
  require 'base64'
  from_charset, from_encoding, encoded_word = 
mime_encoded_word.scan(/\=\?([^?]+)\?([BQ])\?([^?]+)\?\=/i).first
  if from_encoding == "Q"
    decoded_word = encoded_word.unpack("M").first
  elsif from_encoding == "B"
    decoded_word = encoded_word.unpack("m").first
  end
  Iconv.iconv("UTF8", from_charset, decoded_word).first
end
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