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Atul Gawande (b. 1965 in Brooklyn, New York, United States) is a general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and associate director of their Center for Surgery and Public Health. He is also an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. He has written extensively on medicine and public health for The New Yorker and Slate, pieces which have been collected in his books Complications and Better.[1]

Biography

Born to two Indian immigrants, both doctors, Gawande and his sister grew up in Athens, Ohio. His father runs a urology practice there and his mother is a pediatrician. He obtained an undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1987, was a Rhodes scholar (earning a P.P.E. degree from Balliol College, Oxford in 1989), and later graduated from Harvard Medical School. He also has a Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.

As a student Gawande was a volunteer for Gary Hart's campaign. As a Rhodes Scholar, he raised money for the African National Congress. After graduation, he joined Al Gore's 1988 presidential campaign. He worked as a health-care researcher for Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN), who was author of a "managed competition" health care proposal for the Conservative Democratic Forum. After two years he left medical school to become Bill Clinton's health care lieutenant during the 1992 campaign and became a senior adviser in the Department of Health and Human Services after Clinton's inauguration. He directed one of the three committees of the Clinton Health Care Task Force, supervising 75 people and defined the benefits packages for Americans and subsidies and requirements for employers. He returned to medical school in 1993 and earned his M.D in 1995. [2]

Soon after he began his residency, his friend Jacob Weisberg, editor of Slate, asked him to contribute to the online magazine. His pieces on the life of a surgical resident caught the eye of the New Yorker which published several pieces by him before making him a staff writer in 1998.

In addition to his popular writing, Gawande has published studies on topics including military surgery techniques and error in medicine, including in the New England Journal of Medicine. He is also the director of the World Health Organization's Global Patient Safety Challenge. His essays have appeared in The Best American Essays 2003 and The Best American Science Writing 2002.[1] His book, Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science was a National Book Award finalist in 2002 and is published in over one hundred countries. In 2006 he was named a MacArthur fellow. [3] His second book, Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance, was released in April 2007.

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance has its foundation on virtue-based ethics. In Better, Atul Gawande offers up three virtues that he considers to be most important for success in medicine: diligence, doing right, and ingenuity. Instead of simply describing how these virtues should be used, Gawande presents real people and events where these virtues are expressed in full.

In the medical field, he is an expert on the removal of cancerous endocrine glands. He was also named one of the 20 Most Influential South Asians by Newsweek Magazine. Gawande lives in Newton, Massachusetts and has three children.

References

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